I read what the Mayor has written on the site “Next Door” and it is all very misleading and untrue. I was at the meeting in Manhattan with the DEC and DOJ and there are no massive fines since work on the sewers have begun. I have built sewer plants and worked on sewers around Westchester and NYC and have a long history of working with DEC and EPA in regards to our sewer systems and drinking water. When we all attended that meeting (Council, Comptroller and Mayor) I brought along the model numbers and information for the cleaning and camera trucks we would purchase and explained how we would approach fixing our sewer problem. All agencies agreed with the plan and were very happy. I even discussed removing and offsetting all fines which was not even 5% of what the Mayor is stating and applying it against the additional upgrades the city would make. Once again, everyone was happy and open to that suggestion.
Since February 2016 when the Mayor first came to the Council’s work session he has been pushing for the Council to grant him 2.5 Million dollars to hire an outside firm that he continues to recommend to camera our sewer system. As sitting chair over DPW, I have asked the Mayor many times to sit down with me along with his engineers and plans so I can look them over and do a take-off and cost estimate (Since I do this for a living) to determine the true cost to the city. The Mayor as of today still refuses to meet with me about the sewers and will not allow me to sit down with his outside engineering firm to discuss the issues. Moreover, instead the Mayor continues to post false information on the internet and parades around the McNeil family’s unfortunate circumstance to try and create public pressure hoping the Council will cave in. Please ask yourselves, wouldn’t it just be easier for the Mayor to sit down with me and have the engineers he wants to hire and discuss the cost of the sewers repairs? If your planning to build a home, wouldn’t you like to sit down with the builders first to discuss all cost? Why would it be any different in government?
The Mayor’s 4.87% budget is not for setting aside money for fines, but for salary increases for himself and his staff. Money for sewers does not go in our operating budget, that is a capital project expense.
The Mayor needs to call for the capital project board, which will have 2 Council Members appointed to that board.
The Mayor was asking for 20 new police officers and we gave him 7 which bring us to full compliment at 212 officers.
We even posted the salary for the new commissioner at $150K and he still has not hired a commissioner.
We added 5 Firefighters bringing them to full compliment.
We added 7 new DPW workers to cover the sewers and other issues.
This budget at 0% gives everyone something including the Taxpayers. The Council will work to make sure the budget remains at the present balance of 0%. This is a win for the taxpayer and the lowest taxes in the history of Mount Vernon; so why is the Mayor continuously trying to get his hands on an additional $2 million dollars? Inquiring minds would like to know!