Trash collection rates set to increase; council members hoping to delay hike

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:33 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - The price you pay for your trash collection each month is going up, but Fort Wayne City Council members say they’re hoping to delay the rake hike using federal dollars.

Tuesday, a solid waste resolution was introduced to City Council. The resolution calls for the city to use a portion of its roughly $51 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to pay eligible Solid Waste Department expenses. City Council is proposing that $10 million of the funds be used to help delay an increase in the solid waste rate. The resolution passed with a 6-1 vote Tuesday night and will be discussed at next weeks meeting.

The ordinance seeks to increase the monthly single-family residential household fee by $3.60--from $12 to $15.60 beginning July 1, 2023. The full rate adjustment would go into effect on January 1, 2024. Officials say it would include a fully adjusted rate of $18.60 plus an annual change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, an additional one percent to ensure the ongoing viability of the City’s Solid Waste Fund, and potentially another multiplier based on variances in the Consumer Price Index in the last six months of 2023.

Trash rate increase
Trash rate increase(WPTA)

Councilwoman Sharon Tucker says she supports the plan and she believes it is a good use of the ARPA funds.

“Times are hard right now for everyone, inflation is high, we just had high cost of gas, if we have an opportunity we can use those ARPA funds and this is just one of those ways,” Tucker said. “I am supportive of using those funds to off set our debt.”

Councilman Russ Jehl was the only member who voted against the resolution. He says it’s a ‘bailout’ for the solid waste department after they collected debt because of Red River. He says people shouldn’t have to deal with such a high rate increase in the first place. Jehl believes the ARPA funds should be used to pay for GLF Environmental’s higher priced contract instead.

“It’s the difference between a small rate increase versus a big rate increase.,” Jehl said. “I support the use of ARPA funds but they should be used to keep the rate down and to off set the GLF contract. The administrations proposal is to use them as a bailout for the solid waste department.”

Tucker says she believes it’s time to move on and focus on the service of her constituents.

Council meets again to discuss the proposal August 16th.

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