City's 311 call center swamped with calls about missed garbage p - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

City's 311 call center swamped with calls about missed garbage pickups

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) -

We went to the city's 311 call center to see how complaints are being handled, after hundreds of complaints that Fort Wayne's new garbage and recycling collection contractor has not emptied overflowing trash bins or picked up recycling.

"I don't know if we anticipated it or not. I feel that we're responding as best that we can," says Fort Wayne city spokesman John Perlich.
Fort Wayne's 311 center has been swamped for more than a week responding to complaints about missed garbage and recycling pickups by the city's new provider, Red River Waste Solutions.
"We know it's a concern, it's one that we're taking seriously, and are doing our best to meet those concerns," Perlich says.
The 311 program began in 2007 as a one-stop shop for residents needing help with a few city departments.
Since then, it's taken a million calls related to 20 city departments and won several national awards.
Nine full-time call takers work 7:30 to 5 Monday through Friday.
Winter is a busy time of year, with people calling about snow and ice removal, potholes, and garbage collection.
And for the past two weeks, the center has averaged more than 300 calls a day -- at least 60 more than normal -- and most about missed garbage pickups.
"That tends to be a little bit higher, but it's not unusual because it's a new provider. So residents may have questions about is my day still the same? But most of the questions have been concerns about my garbage has been missed, and so we're doing our best to meet those concerns," he says.
Red River began a seven-year contract with the city January second, and blames the missed garbage and recycling pickups on the cold weather affecting trucks' hydraulic arms, the New Year holiday schedule, and new drivers unfamiliar with routes.
However, Perlich says it's too early to say what repercussions Red River might face if service does not improve.
"I think we want to give this some time, let the weather calm down a little bit, and give this a little bit of time. We have a rand new contractor, a lot of new drivers, it takes a little bit of time to learn the system. But we're confident that this is going to work itself out and that residents are going to be able to see seamless pickup of garbage and recycling materials," he says.
A reminder for you -- Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, and while city offices will be closed, garbage and recycling pickups will be on  their normal collection schedule.
Make sure you put your bins out the night before.

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