MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas is calling on the community to preserve local parkland and help save the city’s parks and fix its sewers after missing an important federal deadline.
Last week, Mount Vernon missed the Wednesday, Aug. 31 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s deadline to begin work on repairing the city’s deteriorating sewer system.
According to Thomas, the deadline is nothing new, and the city was put on notice that it must repair its sewers 13 years ago in 2003. He added that since taking office in January, his administration has “negotiated an array of cost-effective solutions with the EPA; however, city officials have rejected all the efforts presented to protect the environment.
It has been estimated that by not maintaining the sewer system, it may cost more than $500,000 per week in taxpayer dollars.
“This inaction has placed the city of Mount Vernon in a precarious fiscal and public health situation,” Thomas said. “The EPA can now fine Mount Vernon taxpayers approximately $525,000 per week, for just two of numerous violations. It is cheaper to keep our waterways clean than to pay millions in unnecessary federal penalties.”
Thomas noted that they can fix the pollution problem by preserving parkland and reclaiming the greenway along the Hutchinson River that will connect Memorial Field and Wilson Woods Park.
“My friends, the financial practices of the past are something the Mount Vernon of the future cannot afford,” Thomas noted in an email blast to residents. “We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. We all know what happens when you ignore your credit card bills - the interest rises and you end up paying much more than you owed to begin with. This is exactly what has been happening with the EPA.
“The tax threat facing us is clear and dangerous. Short term political objectives should not override proper policy needs. Let the City Council and Comptroller know you want them to support efforts to maintain a clean environment by saving our parks and fixing our broken sewers.”