Two weeks after latex gloves stuffed into public works vehicles’ gas tanks temporarily disabled the fleet, the City of Mount Vernon, N.Y., is again facing a vehicle shortage.
In a statement, Mayor Richard Thomas said that the comptroller’s refusal to pay the city’s bills had led parts vendors to “cut the city off. Without these parts and supplies, [Public Works] mechanics cannot perform critical repairs, which means when trucks go down, they stay down.”
He said the city owed a quarter of million dollars to 13 parts vendors, and some of the bills are from 10 months ago.
This has resulted in eight of 17 sanitation trucks being out of commission, and two of five street sweepers are also down.
To collect garbage and recycling with the trucks that are running, Public Works has put employees on second shifts each day. Technicians have begun taking parts off some trucks and putting it on others to ensure vehicles are functional.
The mayor stated that new garbage trucks would cost less than it costs to repair the aged trucks. A recent quote of $240,000, under a 10-year replacement plan, would cost less monthly than the cost to replace a diesel exhaust filter, which costs $3,400, he said.
In a video posted on the mayor’s Facebook page, the Public Works commissioner, garage superintendent, and supervisor reiterated these claims and showed their aged vehicles.
Editor's note: We have reached out to Comptroller Deborah Reynolds for comment and will update this article with her response.