Private garbage collection proposal voted down by Fort Wayne City Council

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A proposal to allow Fort Wayne residents to choose their own trash and recycling collection company as a solution to the city’s ongoing pick-up woes has died.

Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday voted down, 3-6, a proposal to reestablish market-based garbage collection in the city of Fort Wayne.

The non-binding resolution, first introduced by Councilmen Jason Arp and Paul Ensley earlier this summer, called for “market-based garbage collection” to fix the current problems by allowing “the market forces to come to equilibrium efficiently, ensuring that residents have recourse to resolve dissatisfaction in a timely manner.” Contractor Red River has long-struggled with trash and recycling collection since it took over the city’s contract in January 2018.

“I believe in free markets,” said Arp. “I believe in the individuals who live in our city, that they will have the ability to handle this task the same way they handle buying shoes, buying groceries, putting gas in their car.”

The resolution was designed to be more or less a suggestion to the city as an option, should Red River ever breach its contract. Most councilmen suggest the city hold Red River accountable and fine them the full amount allowable according to their contract for missed collections.

“We need to start thinking outside of the box on how to fix some of these issues because we’re really coming to the end of really poor service and right now we have an administration that’s not holding the feet the fire for this company,” said Councilman Michael Barranda. “We need to hold them accountable and enforce the contract we have, but in the event there’s a breach of contract, we’re suggesting they entertain this notion.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s a good idea to throw this out there as a possibility of an option, again, if for nothing else than to hold the feet to the fire to Red River, saying, ‘We do have other options than to just hire another service provider.”

Councilman Glynn Hines, who called the measure a “throw it against a wall see if it sticks resolution,” said he was concerned with the concept of council pursing options without well though-out plans.

Councilman Russ Jehl argued that trash collection is a basic city service. He said he largely agreed with the resolution, but said he hoped to focus on just getting the city’s trash collected.

“The fact that many of the public and many of the council members believe that we are better off having no garbage service at all rather than the poor quality garbage service we have and the poor administration of that contract is a true indictment of the administration and Red River,” said Jehl.

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