City council approves GFL contract Tuesday night, member says process was rushed

GFL Environmental
GFL Environmental(Fort Wayne's NBC)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:06 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - Fort Wayne City Council approved a new contract with GFL Environmental Tuesday night after leaders with the City of Fort Wayne’s Board of Public Works approved the contract Tuesday morning.

Councilman Russ Jehl says he’s been watching the process closely from the beginning. He says this all should have happened much sooner so that they could have time to make adjustments to the contract. Council members first got a look at the contract between GFL Environmental and the city less than a month ago.

“It feels bittersweet. I’m looking forward to getting rid of Red River,” Jehl said. “It’s very emblematic of the very slow rolling chaotic process. We waited and waited and waited and now it’s too late to react.”

He says he has some concerns with the contract, but there’s not really enough time before the July 1st takeover date to make changes. He says he is confident GFL Environmental will do much better than Red River, but they have an eight year contract and he says it shouldn’t have been rushed.

“Every time the administration has come to us, they say do it now or the garbage won’t get picked up,” he said.

Fort Wayne’s NBC News asked city spokesperson John Perlich about that claim.

“There’s been a lot of communication and dialogue,” Perlich said. “There’s been a lot of opportunity for council members to learn more about this process. We’re very comfortable with presenting it tonight, and not in a rushed format.”

Jehl says he has two big concerns with the contract. One being the fact that the bid only accounts for the bin limit plus three bags. He says he feels like the city should have gone with unlimited trash collection since it wasn’t much more money.

Perlich says they are unsure about rate increases right now. Jehl expects customers to see an eight dollar increase with most of that paying for Red River’s bankruptcy.

Jehl says he’s also concerned about rate hikes year-to-year. He says the contract doesn’t have a price cap.

“The fact that there is no cap on the inflation increases year-to-year during an inflationary period,” Jehl said. “A contact for 8 years and every year has no cap.”

Perlich says they are still figuring those details out.

Council is set to vote on the topic Tuesday night at 5:30p.m. and if all goes well, GFL Environmental will take over July 1st.

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