Mayor Richard Thomas Weekly Report for July 8th, 2017

A Victory for Environmental Justice

I am excited to share the news with you that the city has taken aggressive action to move forward with repairing our aging, leaking sewer system. I am thankful to my colleagues for their willingness to work together. Yesterday, Comptroller Maureen Walker, the City Council, and my administration worked together to call special meetings to authorize the purchase of specialized sewer repair trucks. These vehicles mark the first step in addressing our sewer issue; training our workforce in new skills; and laying the groundwork for our upcoming capital plan. Mount Vernon has begun the first step in a long process towards revitalized waters and a clean environment. As Mayor, I work for the people and I will not let the city ignore the Department of Justice any longer.

- Mayor Richard Thomas

State Supreme Court Upholds Mayor’s Executive Authority

In a stern decision handed down this week, New York State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz upheld the Mount Vernon Mayor’s executive authority to make municipal appointments, rebuking the City Council and the Comptroller’s continuing attempts at “interference” with the city’s executive branch operations. The decision barred the Council and Comptroller from “disrupting” and “obstructing” City Hall employees and the discharge of their duties.

The litigation results from what the judge termed an “improper” attempt on the part of the City Council to interfere with Mayor Richard Thomas’ charter-derived powers. The litigation spells out that the City Council was motivated by a desire for “political animus” against the mayor and that Mount Vernon had never previously abided by a misapplied residency requirement that it suddenly decided to invoke on December 28, 2016.

The actions rejected by Judge Lefkowitz’s ruling appear to be yet another rebuke to the political obstructionism that has impeded the city’s ability to effectively deliver crucial services to its citizens. These unlawful ordinances and actions have come close to completely paralyzing progress in Mount Vernon.

The simple truth is: if you have energy, passion, commitment, and a willingness to work hard, there is a place for you in the City of Mount Vernon. We are always recruiting new talent and looking to hear new ideas. Email us at MayorThomas@cmvny.com or regular mail at Mayor’s Office, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mount Vernon, NY 10550. Send us your resume, cover letter, and writing sample.

Pop-up Block Parties

Pop-Up block parties are back in Mount Vernon! Today, at 5th Street and 2nd Avenue, we kicked off the Summer Pop-Up Block Party series. Block parties are a great way for members of the community to interact with members of the FDMV and build relationships between the community and the police. Like last year we’re bringing back cook-outs, bouncy castles, toy giveaways, and safe summertime fun!

135th Annual St. Paul’s Independence Day Celebration

This past Tuesday, as Mount Vernon has done for the last 134 Independence Days, celebrated the birth of our country at St. Paul’s Church. St Paul’s Church is a National Historic Site and plays a foundational role in our country’s quest for freedom.

In 1733, a contentious election was held at St Paul’s Church, which was then serving as the village green. An ambitious newspaper named John Peter Zenger published a series of articles on the election, criticizing the corrupt Royal Governor and his political establishment. Zenger was charged with libel but was acquitted, cementing the freedom of press. Click here to read a detailed account of the importance of St Paul’s and click here to read an issue of Zenger’s newspaper.

This year’s Independence Day featured the ceremonial ringing of the Freedom Bell by Ulysses A. Bullock. Mr. Bullock has volunteered to ring this bell every year for the past thirty years. This year was his last year before retirement so, on behalf of the entire City of Mount Vernon, thank you! We also want to thank John P. Banning Jr, whose family has read the Declaration of Independence at every St Paul’s ceremony for the past 135 years. It’s a great tradition and service to our community so thank you to John and the entire Banning community.

Slide the City is Coming Back to Mount Vernon

Mark your calendars, Mount Vernon, because the one and only Slide the City is back in town! This 1,000 “slip-n-side” will be taking over Gramatan Avenue the 26th AND 27th of August. Grab your swimsuits and flip-flops and be prepared for summertime right in our backyards. Click here to watch videos of last year’s event.

Mount Vernon Campers

What’s more fun than silly emojis? Silly emoji crafts that kids can make themselves. The Mount Vernon Recreation Department has launched a summer reading program and our summer campers were able to make some emojis bookmarks this week. These colorful friends will encourage kids to put down the screens and read a book.

Pop-Up Farmers Market

Pop-Up Farmers Market, sponsored by the Food Bank of Westchester, is coming to Mount Vernon. Beginning July 14th, folks will have a selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy foods to purchase. Visit the Market anytime from 4 pm to 7 pm in Parking Lot 11 located on Prospect and North 3rd Avenues.

Summer season can be challenging for families, young people, seniors, and working parents to have adequate access to nutritious meals. That’s why the new Pop-Up Farmers Market is coming to town, featuring between ten and thirteen thousands pounds of fresh produce, tasty bites, and other foods. This new partnership between the City of Mount Vernon and the Food Bank of Westchester will help make sure no one in our Mount Vernon family goes hungry.

Summer Breeze Concert Series

This week, our Summer Breeze concert series hosted Jazz Night. The City Hall Plaza was taken over by the smooth stylings of Robert Wright and Annette St. John. Nothing like some cool jazz to chase away the hot summer days. Summer Breeze continues now until September 7th, every Thursday night. The music starts at 7pm. Come out and join us next Thursday for more live music and fun on the steps of City Hall. If you missed last week, don’t worry; click here for a video of the concert.

Veteran’s Services Youth Employee will Aid in Departmental Digitalization

The Mount Vernon Veterans Service Agency is preparing to welcome a summer youth worker to assist in the digitization of the department. The partnership with the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau will not only play a big part in helping the VSA enter the 21st century, it will also provide valuable workplace experience to the youth and an introduction into government processes and the business atmosphere. Having received the last of the equipment necessary to begin this project, the VSA looks forward to following in the Building Department’s footsteps to streamline and improve services provided to the public with updated technology. As always, we are assisting veterans, spouses, and dependents with information and assistance applying for VA benefits and planning outreach events. Lastly, Director Kristyn Reed joined MVPD Commissioner Shawn Harris to ensure that roadways will be safe for students in September by formulating a schedule for the marking of school crosswalks. The VSA has a very busy summer planned and looks forward to servicing local veterans!

Mount Vernon Green Thumb Challenge

Mayor Richard Thomas and The Mount Vernon Department of Public Works are calling on all gardeners to participate in our 1st Annual Green Thumb Challenge throughout the Summer. As the season approaches, we want to see how you are keeping Mount Vernon beautiful. Send us pictures of your gardens, flowers, trees, and greenery. Submit pictures along with your name and address to MayorThomas@cmvny.com using the subject “Mount Vernon Green Thumb Challenge 2017” or post your pictures to Social Media and tag us at Mayor Thomas’ Facebook Page www.facebook.com/MayorRichardThomas or on Twitter using @MayorRichThomas AND @MVDPW along with the hashtag #MVGreenThumb. Be Sure to Include Your Name with All Pictures!!

Mount Vernon Community Development Block Grants

The City of Mount Vernon’s Urban Renewal Agency, is seeking applications from qualified non-profit organizations interested in providing services that address one or more of the public service needs targeted in the city’s CDBG program.

For Fiscal Year 2017, the City has been allocated $1,435,516 in Community Development Block Grant program funding of which a maximum of 15% can be allocated to Public Service Activities. The proposed allocation would include a maximum of $215,327 (15%) for Public Service grants. Applicants are encouraged to participate in one of two Pre-Application workshops:

  • Session I: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 10:30am Mount Vernon City Hall
  • Session II: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 6:30pm Mount Vernon City Hall

Mount Vernon Summer Movie Night

The Department of Recreation is bringing back Summer Movie Night again this year, kicking off with The Lego Batman Movie on July 10th at the Doles Center Lawn and July 19th in The Fleetwood Playground. Movie night starts at dusk, about 8:30 pm, now through the middle of August and features many new movies including, Fate of the Furious, Smurfs: The Lost Village, Power Rangers, Beauty and The Beast, and more.

Mark Your Calendars: Slide the City 2017 is August 26th-27th. July 11th at 7:00 PM is the next City Council Meeting.

Listen to us live:

Every week, Mayor Thomas speaks to Yonkers Tribune radio with host Hezi Aris: Catch this week’s interview here for an unvarnished look at what’s happening in Mount Vernon: Mayor Thomas also hosts Mount Vernon Moving Forward every Friday on WVOX, from 5pm to 6pm. You can listen to this week’s show here for an in-depth discussion about the what’s going on in Mount Vernon. On the Internet, tune in to Future 98.9 every Wednesday at 8:30am to listen to Mayor Thomas and Minister P. Tyson. You can find last week’s interview here. On Tuesdays at 8am, you can hear Mayor Thomas on 101.5 Linkage Radio. Catch last week’s discussion here.