Red River garbage truck collects

A Red River garbage truck collects trash. 

Fort Wayne City Council voted at its Nov. 23 meeting to subpoena Red River Waste Solutions, the city’s contracted garbage hauler.

Texas-based Red River and the city signed the $6.96 million, 7-year contract in 2017. Immediately after Red River started service in January 2018 it became notorious for missing pickups, leading to the creation of a task force and route changes along with fines on the company.

Then this fall the company filed for bankruptcy.

City Council invited Red River CEO James Smith to attend the council meeting on Nov. 16. Smith didn’t show up or contact council, so the result is this resolution, which launches the investigation. Council plans to establish a three-member subcommittee to direct the investigation.

“Red River is in a precarious position, and we owe it to our ratepayers to do everything we can to give them as many answers as we can,” Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd said.

Councilwoman Michelle Chambers, D-at large, voted against the resolution.

In other council business:

• Council approved in a 6-0 vote a residential TIF district (R-TIF) southeast near the corner of Tillman and Hessen Cassel roads. The 263-lot subdivision will sell homes at market rate, Joe Giant, redevelopment director, said.

The median cost for the homes will be in the $225,000-$275,000 range, he said. It is called the Roosevelt Pointe Residential Housing Development.

The residential TIF district will use taxes collected from the new homes to help fund infrastructure projects within the boundaries of the R-TIF.

The median age of homes in the southeast quadrant is 70 years — more than 13 years older than the city average.

• Council tabled three bills related to City Utilities’ purchase of the Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District. A dispute has arisen as to how many people the city gets to appoint to the board vs. the county.

“The sewer bills will die tonight unless any votes are changed,” Jehl said. He said he hasn’t heard of anyone who’s fundamentally opposed, and to kill the bill throws out the good with the bad.

Council voted to table all three bills and then hold a special meeting Dec. 7. It will take five votes to untable the bill.

• A bill was introduced that would repeal a portion of the city’s code that deals with sexually oriented businesses. Chapter 121 was added in August 2019. The ordinance, authored by Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, argues that Chapter 121 has not made any significant improvements in the community and has had a negative effect on the almost-exclusive women staff in these establishments to support themselves and their families.

The ordinance also says Chapter 121 has forced some of these businesses to move into more clandestine operations such as hotel rooms, private homes and private parties, where women are at greater risk without security. Tom Didier, R-3rd, voted against introducing the bill.

• City Council will not meet Nov. 30.

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