MOUNT VERNON – The City’s recycling collection was cancelled today when eight of the Department of Public Works’ garbage trucks were placed out of service after they failed road-safety inspections.
Garbage collection on the south side of the City will resume on Thursday as public officials work to get some of the grounded garbage trucks back on the road. Residents should return their recycling to their storage areas until next week’s collection.
“We are going to collect garbage tomorrow,” said Public Works Commissioner Mark Ederer. “It may be a little slow because we’ll only have four trucks.”
The grounding of the trucks is related to Comptroller Deborah Reynolds’ failure to pay at least $257,000 in outstanding bills to 13 different parts vendors. Some of those unpaid bills date back to last April.
Ederer said that Mayor Richard Thomas has convinced some of the vendors to extend emergency credit to get some of the grounded trucks rolling.
The enhanced inspections of the City’s garbage trucks were due to an accident yesterday when a garbage truck malfunctioned and plowed into a car and home on Elm Avenue.
Mayor Thomas said that deferred maintenance due to the unpaid bills was partly responsible for today’s safety inspection failure and yesterday’s accident. Mayor Thomas called yesterday’s accident a wake-up call.
“These trucks that we have are in dire need of replacement and repairs,” said Mayor Thomas. “We spent the past 24 hours talking with the vendors, reaching out to them, asking them to please help us help Mount Vernon. Today we saw a consequence of the fact that these trucks are not safe enough to go on the roads and that we didn’t have the parts to make the repairs.”
The grounding of Mount Vernon’s garbage truck fleet is the latest mishap attributable to a lack of investment in the Department of Public Works.
Last week almost half of the Department of Public Works’ garbage trucks were out of service for lack of needed parts.
“This is a crisis for the public to voice their concern to a higher power,” said Mayor Thomas. “We need the help of the governor (and) the state comptroller, who is inside City Hall doing an audit on the Comptroller’s office. This has been a long time coming.”