Tim Smith critiques Mayor Henry’s handling of city trash issues

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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry released his first TV ad for the general election Monday. Republican challenger Tim Smith thinks it’s a fine ad, but wants to focus more on how the city can improve than any successes Henry may have had.

The ad has Henry’s siblings in their family homestead highlighting his mayoral successes.

“I’m proud to have played a role in our city’s success, but even more flattered that my siblings had such nice things to say about me,” he says at the end of it.

Opponent and businessman Smith said people in Fort Wayne are telling him they need more than they’ve been getting from Henry. They want safety, infrastructure and trash collection to improve.

Red River Waste Solutions has caused Henry’s administration a lot of headaches since it became the city’s trash service in January of 2018. There have been a lot of late and missed pickups. This summer, the City started providing it’s owner workers to help with the misses.

“If the mayor wanted to use public employees to pick up the trash he could have started doing that in January of 2018,” Smith said. “Instead it took 18 months to employ what was a very obvious solution in the contract.”

Smith said if he’s mayor he’ll ask Red River to meet to negotiate a new contract. If they don’t agree to meet, he’ll fine them the maximum that the contract allows and eventually find a replacement.

“If they refuse, I’m going to start fining them at the maximum levels permitted by the contract, which the mayor’s not doing,” he said. “Once a replacement has been found, assuming Red River still had not come back to the negotiating table, I would declare them in breach. I would fire them. The new carrier would start and the service would improve. That’s business leadership on an issue as fundamental as trash. Most cities in America pick up the trash. It’s not that hard.”

Henry provided a response on Tuesday.

“Yes, we have battled our share of issues including garbage collection,” he said. “I am pleased to say, however, that we are addressing that issue head on and that collection is improving. I am prepared to defend myself when and if Tim Smith and his campaign interject with gloom and negativity.”

Smith said he is looking forward to a healthy and friendly election campaign.

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