Patience and hard work are paying off as we'll soon have a new city garbage and recycling hauler. City Council and the Board of Public Works have given unanimous approval for GFL Environmental USA to be Fort Wayne's next provider of solid waste collection services effective July 1.

We've been through a lot of ups and downs with Red River since 2018, but as I said a few months ago, we're making it right for you and better days are ahead. We're looking forward to GFL being our new partner as we work each day to provide the best solid waste collection services possible for the 83,400 households we serve.

I'm encouraged that my administration, City Council, the Solid Waste Advisory Board and GFL have partnered in a collaborative manner. I'm confident we'll have a positive and successful future to meet the needs of the community.

GFL is a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company that's the fourth-largest diversified environmental services company in North America with facilities throughout Canada and more than half of U.S. states. GFL has experience in Fort Wayne, operating a transfer station here since 2020, and has a landfill in Claypool.

Highlights of what solid waste customers can expect beginning July 1:

  • There won't be any changes to collection dates or A and B recycling weeks. Residents will continue to use their city-provided bins. Residents will continue to report misses to 311.
  • There will be a few changes to how the collection process will work. Materials in the city-provided cart will continue to be collected, along with three additional bags. Residents who regularly have three or more bags are encouraged to sign up for an additional cart for $2 per month to hold additional trash.
  • City crews have been doing bulk collection for the past several months, assisting Red River, and will continue to do so during this transition. We'll also be doing the bulk collection on and after July 1 until a permanent solution is agreed upon between the administration and City Council. Residents may continue to set out one piece of furniture or non-freon appliance on collection day. Materials will be collected within 48 hours. Also, be sure to continue to wrap your mattresses and box springs.
  • The final rate structure for customers hasn't been finalized, but rates will be increasing in the near future. We know we won't be able to continue to charge $12 per month for all solid waste-related activities. Our goal is to keep costs as low as possible. A customer's solid waste bill includes more than just collection: disposal, recycling processing, bulk collection, leaf collection, salaries of solid waste staff, cart purchases, fuel/truck payments/utilities, billing, household hazardous waste, neighborhood cleanup program and Dumpsters.

Highlights of upcoming education and outreach:

  • Public Works and Solid Waste leaders will be presenting information at several neighborhood meetings in June – the Neighborhood Presidents' Meeting on June 6, Southeast Area Partnership on June 8, Northeast Area Partnership on June 9, Southwest Area Partnership on June 15 and Northwest Area Partnership on June 16.
  • Information will be shared on the city website, social media platforms, City TV programming and public service announcements on television, radio and in print.
  • All solid waste customers will receive a postcard prior to July 1 explaining the key points of how collections will work.
  • Non-English speaking residents, particularly Spanish and Burmese, will be provided with information in their respective languages.

Our contract with GFL has items designed to help ensure enhanced services moving forward with a contractor that has the necessary experience and past successes to meet the needs of our residents and neighborhoods in a timely and professional manner.

I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize and thank City Councilman Jason Arp for his leadership and professionalism in overseeing the discussions and ultimate vote at City Council. His steady and calm demeanor in a bipartisan fashion was commendable.

I also want to thank all the other members of City Council, Solid Waste Advisory Board, Board of Public Works, Public Works Division, Solid Waste Department, and residents and neighborhoods for coming together for the betterment of our community.

It took a lot of time and energy, but all of this effort will have been worth it when we begin receiving reliable services from GFL when they start their work on July 1.

This article appeared in the May 24, 2022 edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette