Police, fire, garbage vehicles stop running in Mount Vernon over unpaid bills

The city of Mount Vernon has declared a State of Emergency over what could be a looming safety and public health crisis.  Everything from police and fire vehicles to garbage trucks is being pulled out of service due to poor maintenance.

Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard says the blame lies with Comptroller Deborah Reynolds, who allegedly has not paid nearly $500K in equipment bills, leaving the city unable to repair its dilapidated cars and trucks. 

"We have bills going back to September, October, November. For car parts, tires that she has not paid," Patterson-Howard said.

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Unpaid bills have been a continuation of the long-running drama that has centered around Mount Vernon City Hall for most of Reynolds' term in office under former Mayor Richard Thomas.

FOX 5 NY attempted to speak with the comptroller, but the Department of Finance was closed Friday. Emails and phone calls went unanswered.

In response to the crisis, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday evening that he was directing state agencies to temporarily deploy response assets to Mount Vernon for up to two weeks. , in order to help with garbage collection.

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"Mount Vernon's citizens are suffering as the city resolves longstanding issues over the funding of its services, and this administration is stepping in to ensure government continues to function," Governor Cuomo said. "State agencies will deploy trucks to Mount Vernon to make sure the city is able to keep the streets clean and collect its trash for the next two weeks. Residents and their families deserve better, and I am hopeful that this situation is resolved as soon as possible."