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  • Fort Wayne Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer holds a mailer Tuesday that will be sent to residents detailing new trash and recycling pickup days. (Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette)

  • Courtesy city of Fort Wayne  This garbage collection map developed by the Working Group on Garbage and Recycling shows Red River’s new pickup strategy. The city was split into five quadrants to reduce the number of times collectors crisscross the city.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 1:00 am

City tweaks garbage pickup map

Collection day changing for half of residents

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Starting in less than a month, garbage and recycling collection day will change for almost half of Fort Wayne residents, city officials announced Tuesday. 

The change, which will take effect Nov. 5, is expected to increase efficiency and reduce missed collections. It is the product of the Working Group on Garbage and Recycling, which formed in August. The working group included nine neighborhood leaders, two City Council members and representatives of the city's Solid Waste Department and from Red River Waste Solutions. 

“As we looked for ways to improve, it was not only necessary to include my staff and City Council members, it was also important to include neighborhood leaders,” Mayor Tom Henry said. They're the ones who are out there every day. They're on the front lines. They know the frustrations that many of our residents have experienced with missed collections.”

Residents can expect to be notified of the change via mailers within the next two weeks. Residents can also use to find out their new collection day.

Other changes include half-day Saturday 311 service starting Saturday, which means the call center will be open from 8 a.m. to noon, and a new program to train drivers on trucks they will use on the job. Red River is also actively recruiting drivers at job fairs and has hired a recruiting firm to help. 

Current routes are inefficient, Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer said. Crews were crisscrossing the city, he said, trying to complete their routes each day. The new maps consolidate routes geographically, which should lead to better service, especially at a time when there is a shortage of commercial driver's license holders.

“The city is divided into five quadrants. We will be focusing on each quadrant each day to pick up garbage, so all of Red River's resources will be concentrated in that district on that day. We think it's going to make a tremendous change,” Bandemer said. 

Neighborhood leaders and City Council members present Tuesday praised the solution developed by the working group.

Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, called the existing collection map convoluted and in need of repair. 

“I'm just happy it didn't take two months to do this, because there are constituents and we're still getting constituent calls in regards to the pickups,” Didier said. “And for me, I wanted to have a solution, not a resolution.”

Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, said the changes will improve customer service. Arp also said he believes Red River is making progress hiring drivers and working toward fulfilling the contract. 

“This isn't a Republican matter or a Democrat matter, this is a matter of providing excellent customer service to our constituents that hasn't happened,” Arp said. “But we are working to make it better, and I believe the plan that the administration and Red River has put together will see significant changes and improvements in the quality of the service.”

Change can be difficult, said Steve Smith, Red River's vice president of business development. But he asked for patience and participation in getting the word out about the changes. 

“We did take a lot of effort to try to minimize the impact on days,” Smith said. “We tried to take the most number of people in an area and translate that to the new day. We did try to apply some logic there and go through the numbers.”