The mayor of the City of Mount Vernon, New York, has declared a state of emergency due to lack of payments for critical parts and maintenance of police, fire, and public works vehicles. Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said the comptroller has refused to pay $500,000 in invoices for critical parts, impacting nearly the entire fleet of vehicles and forcing the city to pause refuse collection, the Yonkers Times reported.
In a video, the mayor said garbage trucks are 20 to 25 years old and have been in a state of disrepair. Technicians were able to continue to keep them on the road, but for the past few months, parts vendors have not been paid. Technicians now don’t have the parts they need, and tires are bald.
The State of Emergency allows the city to call on its neighbors for help. Mayor Patterson-Howard said New York City would be loaning it eight sanitation trucks for at least 90 days. The City of Yonkers will be loaning Mount Vernon some trucks until the vehicles arrive from New York City.
“We will be working with the city council to pass some legislation to free up monies to allow us to rent trucks going forward as well as to ensure that emergency bills in the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department and the Police Department are being addressed,” she said. “We have already identified monies through the American Rescue Plan going forward that will allow us to purchase several million dollars in sanitation trucks as well as police cars and fire equipment and apparatus.”
She repeatedly blamed Comptroller Deborah Reynolds for not releasing funding, leading to the state of emergency. Reynolds said it is the mayor that pays the city bills and she had held them in her office, lohud reported.