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Mount Vernon Mayor: Property Tax Increase Likely As DOJ Lawsuit Looms

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas. Photo Credit: Mount Vernon website

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The Department of Justice is reportedly intending to file a lawsuit against the City of Mount Vernon for violations of the Clean Water Act that could cost taxpayers.

According to Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, the Department of Justice has given notice to city officials that they intend to file a lawsuit for violations of the Clean Water Act and a systemic refusal to adhere to environmental consent orders since 2003.

Thomas said that over 14 years, the City Council and other city officials have failed to act and ignored two consent orders from the Environmental Protection Agency, prompting the Department of Justice to formally announce its intention to file a suit and levy a “significant monetary penalty” that could cost the city millions and impact property taxes.

“The cost of defiance is far more expensive than compliance. The Department of Justice had to step in and force the obstructionists to simply start working with us 18 months into my tenure as mayor,” Thomas said in a statement. “My agenda has never changed. Fix the broken system. Fix Memorial Field, and fix our broke infrastructure. This includes cleaning up our waterways, restoring our parks, and protecting the people we were elected to serve.

“It is shameful that provincial politics has put Mount Vernon taxpayers on the hook for potentially millions in penalties. As the Department of Justice wrote, this will result in a ‘significant monetary penalty’ which likely translates into a significant property tax increase."

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