City Council proposes use of ARPA funds to help delay solid waste rate increases

FILE PHOTO - The Fort Wayne City Council meets on April 19, 2022.
FILE PHOTO - The Fort Wayne City Council meets on April 19, 2022.(WPTA)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 12:22 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Fort Wayne City Council is set to introduce an ordinance they say is aimed to delay an increase in the solid waste rates.

The City said on Friday that the solid waste resolution will be introduced to City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 9. 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 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.

“Changes to the rate structure are needed to fund current and future solid waste services and ensure the Solid Waste Fund remains stable to meet the solid waste needs of the community,” the City said in a release.

The City says the solid waste rate has remained the same since 2018. They say they intended to raise the rates in 2020 but did not because of the pickup issues with Red River, the previous contractor.

“The patience and understanding from ratepayers are reflected in the delay and staggered approach to the new rate starting in 2023 which equates to a discount,” the release reads.

The entire solid waste bill includes garbage/recycling collection, garbage disposal, recycling processing, leaf collection, salaries of solid waste staff, cart purchases, fuel/truck payments, utilities, billing, household hazardous waste, neighborhood cleanups, and dumpsters, officials note. The resolution will be introduced this coming Tuesday and would be discussed and voted on at future council meetings.

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