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NY town sidelines police cars, fire truck after failing to pay $500K in invoices

A total of 19 police cars have been taken off the road due to “gross negligence” by a city official, the mayor said

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Mount Vernon (N.Y.) Police Department

By Suzie Ziegler

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — A town just north of Manhattan has declared a state of emergency after a city official reportedly failed to pay $500,000 in invoices for city vehicles. In the meantime, the city has sidelined 19 police cars, 14 garbage trucks, and a fire engine, according to NBC New York.

The issue is a matter of public safety, said Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard.

“It’s not just the mechanical,” Patterson-Howard told NBC New York. “Some of these vehicles, the clutches, ours have to use sticks so that they can work the brake and the clutch.”

The problem, says the mayor, comes from “gross negligence” by another town official – the city’s comptroller. Others agree.

“Over the past few years, it’s been hard to challenge replacement parts, and because of the lack of cooperation with our comptroller, over the last six months to a year we haven’t been able to get any replacement parts,” said another town official. “If we put (the vehicles) out on the road, we’ll be doing more harm. Could cause an accident, harm our drivers or residents.”

For now, Mount Vernon will borrow garbage trucks from Yonkers and New York City. Emergency workers will still respond to 911 calls, the report says, but it’s unclear who will provide those vehicles.

"[The comptroller] cut back a few checks today for fleet maintenance,” said Patterson-Howard. “These are checks that could have been cut weeks ago, or months ago, and we might have been able to avoid this.”

The city council is holding a special town meeting to resolve the issue, the mayor said.