The Mount Vernon Way — Investing for the Long Term

The City of Mount Vernon made significant strides this week in moving forward with our sewer infrastructure repair. The Department of Justice has told the city in no uncertain terms that it is time to fix our sewers. Last week, the administration, in collaboration with the City Council and Comptroller Walker worked together to take this first step in repair, addressing the city’s long-standing consent order and laying the groundwork for a capital plan.

Special meetings of the City Council and the Board of Estimate and Contract were convened to vote on legislation that would allow the Department of Public Works to purchase two new sewers trucks and supporting Mayor Thomas’ need to begin the emergency repair work.

The purchase of these two sewer trucks is more than just new equipment, it is an investment in Mount Vernon’s future. These trucks come with training for our existing staff so our public works and water department crews will be able to get the work done themselves. This long-term investment is a new vision for the city and will taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long one.

This is a victory for the residents, but our work is only just beginning. There will be more conversations like the one we had last week with the City Council and the Comptroller’s office, more special meetings to make sure the city remains in compliance with the federal order, and more deadlines for the next steps in the process to be laid out by the EPA and Justice Department. Using the Cues robotic camera truck, one of the trucks we acquired, to map out our sewers is just the first step in complying.

The investments in this new technology are among the first steps to make Mount Vernon a smarter city that is clean and green. Our vision for a sustainable future is finally beginning in real terms. The new specialized equipment will assist us in making better decisions in repaving roads but also deliver on meeting the demands of the Department of Justice.

The next steps include making sure this mega-project is affordable which is why we are investing in human capital to assist us obtaining grants and low-cost loans. We thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his continued support of the City of Mount Vernon — from Memorial Field to now, the sewers, by leading the way in long-term investment and sharing our vision. We look forward to continued partnership with Comptroller Walker and the City Council as we revitalize our waterways, restore our parks, and make Mount Vernon magnificent again. Please visit or for future updates.

Originally Published in Westchester County Press Vol. № 28 — July 13, 2017