FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The City of Fort Wayne has asked Red River Waste Solutions for proof it can pay its performance bond by Jan. 1, but so far hasn’t received an answer, city spokesman John Perlich said Monday.
In the meantime, the City is making contingency plans for trash pickup should the Red River contract fail, Perlich said.
“The City is quickly developing the capacity to secure emergency collection services through agreements with several national providers in the event that becomes needed,” Perlich wrote in answer to an email from WANE 15.
City Council members Russ Jehl and Sharon Tucker will address the subpoena the council issued to force Red River owner and CEO James Smith to appear before council to answer questions, Jehl said Monday. The pair plans to talk after Tuesday’s council meeting,
Red River’s contract with the city, approved by council in 2017, is dependent on conditions set out in the bankruptcy code, Perlich said.
From the start, there have been problems with missed pickups and a shortage of drivers.
Four city crews supplement trash pickup, according to anonymous local officials and Fort Wayne Public Works crews interviewed on the street. Local officials did not want to be quoted, but wanted to alert WANE 15 to the potential performance bond fail, they said.
Red River must pay about $800,000 total by Jan 1: $500,000 (10% of the trash contract) and another $300,000 (10% of the recycling contract) to honor its deal with the city, local officials told WANE 15.
WANE 15 received a list of missed trash pickups between June 7 and Nov. 26. Red River collects from 83,300 households weekly, according to city records, with a low of 203 missed trash pickups the last week in November. The highest number of missed trash picks was the second week in June with 1,306.
Because of the protections set out in the U.S. bankruptcy code, the city “has made appropriate claims against the current Red River performance bond,” Perlich said.
He also said the city’s ability to pursue fines for the missed collections “is complicated and restricted by the bankruptcy process.”
WANE 15 has made repeated attempts to contact Red River since the company filed for bankruptcy in October but have not heard back.