Mayor Tom Henry ‘expects better’ from new trash contractor; fines issued

Red River has been fined by the city for service problems. (Courtesy image)
Tom Henry

Mayor Tom Henry and City Council members are speaking out about the service provided by the city’s new trash and recycling contractor — and they’re not happy.

“We expect better results from Red River,” Henry said in a statement Tuesday. “My staff and I, along with City Council, are adamant that improvements need to be made to ensure garbage and recycling collection procedures and outcomes meet the needs and expectations of our residents and neighborhoods. Though we recognize that challenges are to be expected with a new provider, Red River has assured us that they’re prepared and ready to enhance their daily operations. I’m optimistic that they’re up to the task.”

Red River Waste Solutions began providing services on Jan. 2. The City and Red River recognize there have been some issues and are working each day to address concerns. We apologize for any challenges that residents have experienced. It’s not uncommon, though, for there to be an adjustment period for any new provider.

Council President Freistroffer, R-at large, said council is “very disappointed with repetitive resident complaints regarding Red River’s continued mishaps on garbage and recycling collection.”

The City’s Solid Waste Department oversees the contract and is in daily communication with Red River and regular communication with neighborhood partnerships and associations and elected officials. The department will continue its outreach to residents and neighborhoods and is committed to providing the best services possible to the public. In addition, 311 has been in daily communication with the department about residents’ reports of service concerns.

The city has fined Red River for not meeting certain benchmarks as outlined in the garbage and recycling contract. A $15,000 fine was assessed in April, and an additional fine of more than $50,000 will be assessed for May. The fine structure is similar to fines that were assessed to the city’s previous garbage and recycling collection provider. Garbage and recycling contractors across the country are experiencing a shortage of drivers who are eligible and interested in employment, the city stated.

The city received bids from five companies for the garbage and recycling collection contract, the highest of which was $9.61 million, and the lowest of which was $6.96 million from Red River. Indiana state law requires the contract to be awarded to the lowest and most responsive bidder, which was Red River. The Board of Public Works and City Council unanimously approved the contract with Red River.

Residents are reminded to have garbage and recycling bins set out the night before their collection day as crews collect garbage and recycling anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Even though residents may have become accustomed to having materials collected at a certain time, it’s important to have everything set out the night before to ensure garbage and recycling materials are collected, as the contractor may be arriving at a different time.

Questions and concerns about missed pickups can be addressed by calling 311. Residents may also visit and click on the 311 icon to download the 311 mobile app and submit a concern.