Political strife may be leading to diminished services for residents in Mount Vernon, according to Mayor Richard Thomas.
“Due to Comptroller Deborah Reynolds’ refusal to pay the city’s bills, vendors who supply the Department of Public Works with crucial parts that are necessary to keep Mount Vernon’s aging fleet operational have cut the city off. Without these parts and supplies, DPW mechanics cannot perform critical repairs, which means when trucks go down, they stay down,” Thomas said on Thursday.
According to Thomas, eight of the DPW’s 17 sanitation trucks are currently out of commission, and the city owes $257,066 to 13 parts vendors. Some of the unpaid bills allegedly date back to last April. Two of Mount Vernon’s five street sweepers are also out of commission.
“The vendor that services the sweepers told the Garage Superintendent Edgar Torres that they want to work with the DPW, but the cannot perform any more services or supply any more parts until a substantial payment is made on the DPW’s account,” Thomas said. “These vendors have a right feel fed up.”
Reynolds could not immediately be reached for comment late on Thursday afternoon.
Thomas said that the inability to repair garbage trucks has led to DPW employees working double shifts each day, which means the city has to pay overtime, compounding their financial woes.
“This extra cost to the taxpayer is not only avoidable, it’s unsustainable,” Thomas wrote in an email. “In addition to the added costs, the steady rate of overtime is tolling on the men and women of the DPW. The DPW cannot afford to risk exhausting the workforce in the face of potential winter storms.”
The mayor said that in November, Vincent Emilio of DB Hydraulics, a company that has been doing business with Mount Vernon for more than 50 years, stated he was planning to take the City to court because he can’t get the Comptroller to pay bills dating back to July.
“Where I come from if you take something and don’t pay for it, that’s theft,” Emilio reportedly said at the time. “This is insane.”
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