Mt. Vernon officials blame each other after garbage truck crashes into home

MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon officials fought Wednesday about who is responsible for the Westchester city's aging fleet of sanitation trucks. Some are too old and dangerous to be on the road.

On Tuesday, a malfunctioning truck crashed into a car and home on Elm Avenue. No one was injured but it lead the Department of Public Works to examine the fleet of 16 trucks. City officials said only 4 are safe to use for garbage pick up Thursday.

"It was a wake up call that these trucks that we have are in dire need of replacement and repairs," Mayor Richard Thomas said.

While the Department of Public Works tried to get the vehicles back on the road, the mayor and the DPW Commissioner blamed Mount Vernon's comptroller for the problems, saying she isn't paying the bills for needed parts.

"The comptroller stopped processing these purchase orders in July of last year. These are all outstanding purchase orders that are six or eight months old, Public Works Commissioner Mark Ederer said.

Comptroller Deborah Reynolds denied she is responsible. "Mayor Thomas is also falsely accusing me of not paying city bills. Untrue. What he didn't tell the media is that he failed to bring down the bills to the comptroller's office," she said.

In order to get the trucks operational, the mayor said he has convinced vendors to extend credit. "They want resolution. They want to get paid," Mayor Thomas said.

Garbage pick up is expected to resume Thursday on the south side of Mount Vernon. Recycling will be postponed until next week.

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