MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Trash has been pilling up in Mount Vernon after a state of emergency was declared by the mayor.
She says the entire fleet of sanitation trucks had to be pulled off the road over safety concerns.READ MORE: Gen. Colin Powell, Former Secretary Of State, Dies At 84 Due To Complications From COVID-19
Friday, the garbage trucks were sitting idle.
“It absolutely could have been avoided,” Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said.
Page after page, Patterson-Howard went through half a million dollars’ worth of unpaid bills. Most of the invoices are for parts.
“You can only weld but so much, and so our fleet is at the very, very end of its useful and safe life,” Patterson-Howard told CBS2’s Kevin Rincon.
She declared a state of emergency, allowing the city to get outside help.
“Yonkers was able to provide us with access to their trucks, so when they finish their shift, we are on our way over there right now to pick up the trucks so that we can go out on the streets,” Patterson-Howard said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday directed state agencies to provide assistance to Mount Vernon for up to two weeks.
The crisis, the mayor says, is due to the negligence of Comptroller Deborah Reynolds, and none of this, she says, is due to a lack of money.
“She’s paid plenty of other different bills. She choses to pay the bills she wants to pay. She pays her personal attorneys. She does what she wants to do,” Patterson-Howard said.READ MORE: Gen. Colin Powell Remembered Fondly At His Alma Mater, CCNY, And In The Bronx, Where He Was Raised
It’s not just sanitation that’s hurting; police and fire have suffered as well with unpaid bills, though it’s not clear why.
“The question can only be answered by her,” Patterson-Howard said.
CBS2 tried to talk to the comptroller, but she opted instead to offer a letter, which, in part, blames the mayor for creating what she calls false narratives.
While CBS2 couldn’t get any answers directly from Reynolds, her letter claims the mayor “underestimated most of these expenses in the 2021 budget.”
As for residents, they’re fed up.
“It’s a lose-lose situation,” one man said. “All I can do is maybe make some phone calls and complain.”
“Ain’t nothing gonna get done. It’s gonna drag out, drag out. In the meantime, the rats getting bigger and healthier,” another man said.
“I hope that we get people, elected officials who are going to work at fixing the problems that we have around here, and that are truly interested in the community and not just their political position,” one woman said.
For now, sanitation trucks from neighboring towns will be used to collect trash, while city mechanics wait for parts.
The mayor says gas hasn’t been paid for either, and there’s a concern they could miss their next delivery on Monday.MORE NEWS: Report: Feds May Allow Americans To Get Different COVID Booster Than Vaccine They First Received
CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.