FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s administration and Fort Wayne City Council reached an agreement Tuesday night regarding the distribution of $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The compromise to move forward with a solid waste rate plan ordinance represents one of the final steps in a long battle to settle how to use some of the city’s remaining ARPA funds toward eligible Fort Wayne Solid Waste Department expenses.
The ordinance would adjust the monthly single-family residential household waste fee from $12 to $15.80 beginning July 1, 2023. The rate would then rise according to a number of factors, including the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Jan. 1, 2024. Semiannual rate adjustments would continue until Jan. 1, 2025, when the rate will be set to $18.00 plus all of the prior CPI adjustments. and then rates would begin to adjust annually.
Shan Gunawardena, the city’s public works director says he expects that CPI to be about 3.5% each cycle.
Even though the trash rates for citizens will still eventually rise, the ARPA allocation resolution would delay the adjustments until July 1, 2023.
“The administration and Solid Waste staff have done a wonderful job creating a win-win compromise,” said City Councilman Russ Jehl. “The Solid Waste Fund will be solvent, Solid Waste Operations will be fully funded and the ratepayer will save $2 million versus what we started with the original proposal.”
A final approval of this compromise could be granted at next week’s City Council meeting.
The solid waste rate has remained the same since 2018 and was originally intended to be adjusted in 2020, but this did not happen due to the service of the previous contractor.
After his presentation Gunawardena expressed optimism over the compromise, and feels it will be beneficial to Fort Wayne’s citizens over time
“And now things are going to be a whole lot better. We have a great contractor, we’ve got a great plan, and now we’ll get a great rate. We are ready to move forward, we probably won’t have to talk about solid waste for the next eight years or so,” Gunawardena said.