Author: Daniel Terry

Special Real Estate meeting will be held on Friday ,December 4,2020

Special Real Estate meeting will be held on Friday ,December 4,2020

                        City Council Chambers

                        2nd floor

                        Mount Vernon, Ny 10550

                        At 10:00am-11:00am

                       

            Social distancing will be enforced.

Mayor Patterson-Howard’s Thanksgiving Message

Dear Friends,

This Thanksgiving will be a holiday unlike any we’ve ever experienced. With COVID-19 upending daily life and grim rising infection and death tolls, traditional celebrations seem like quaint relics of a different era. We recently issued a Stay-at-Home advisory in Mount Vernon and I urge all of you to rethink your planned events. Getting together poses an undue risk and may endanger those we love and cherish most. Instead of large in-person celebrations, be creative and share virtual time with loved ones.

If we embrace this time of shared sacrifice, follow social distancing rules, wear masks, and minimize our contact with those outside of our immediate households, eventually we’ll be able to gather again. The promise of safe, effective vaccines and national protocols is on the horizon, and with it a return to our cherished traditions, hopefully in time for Thanksgiving 2021.

Our celebrations this year may be different, but the spirit of the holiday remains the same. There is always something to be thankful for, particularly during this unprecedented time: faith and family, health and strength, and our hopes for the future.

Even now, my heart is filled with gratitude. I am grateful for us, our strength and resilience, our courage to stand together in the face of disease and death and support each other through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our challenges,  Mount Vernon continues to evolve and transform. Our march towards progress and prosperity continues. 

I wish all of you a joyous, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving. As we adapt to our current realities, let us also prepare for a future brimming with possibility. This is a time to cherish the positive, to focus on our collective strength and compassion as a city, and as a country. United, we can overcome any obstacles.  Forward together.

Sincerely,

Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard

Mayor and City Council Hold Emergency Press Conference on Comptroller Deborah Reynolds

November 20, 2020– Today, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson and the City Council held a joint press conference to discuss Comptroller Deborah Reynolds and how her lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism has left the City in dire financial straits. With a looming COVID-19 second wave compounding other critical financial needs, the City faces a crucial crossroads — the release of more than 13 million dollars being held up by the Comptroller or drastic austerity measures including a possible 25% cut across all agencies or a ten percent tax increase on already burdened local taxpayers.

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MayorShawyn Patterson-Howard, City Council member Derrick Thompson, City Councilmember Marcus Griffith, and other local stakeholders detailed the Comptroller’s impact on Mount Vernon residents, their demands for transparency and cooperation, and plans for holding Comptroller Reynolds accountable. An assembly of elected officials, community leaders and civil servants provided harrowing accounts of the Comptroller’s malfeasance, which has robbed vulnerable frontline workers of hard-earned overtime pay, cheated cash-strapped small businesses of their receivables, slowed city efforts to assist residents facing eviction and utility disconnection, prevented street repaving and hampered the City from purchasing life-saving firetrucks, ambulances, a police mobile command center, body cameras and making improvements to support its fiscal recovery efforts.

Mary Kingsley and Rey Hollingsworth, both realtors in Mount Vernon said that over the next 12 months more than 143 million dollars in home sales can be lost for Comptroller Reynolds failure to process property transfer taxes. This will amount to 1.43 million dollars lost in revenue to the City of Mount Vernon. Out of 50 title companies in the state we are down to only 2 who will do business with residents and realtors. CEO Amy Gelles of The Guidance Center of Westchester stated that her organization had to absorb over 250,000 dollars in rent payments for some of the cities most vulnerable residents due to the failure of Comptroller Reynolds to transfer federal funds to the Urban Renewal Agency(URA).

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For more than two years, City Comptroller Deborah Reynolds has operated above the purview of the City of Mount Vernon with impunity. She began her abuse of power by sealing off the financial and purchasing system (MUNIS) from the executive branch with an illegal firewall in her office, essentially operating as a rogue agency within City Hall administration.

Here are some of her most egregious actions:

● Failure to accept tax payments from residents for months. It takes months for these payments to be accepted and processed.

● Failure to process over 2.5 million dollars in unpaid invoices from vendors in Public Works going back to late 2017.

● Failed to process school taxes, causing the school district to take over the collection of school taxes and costing the City of Mount Vernon 600k+ in revenue.

● Refused to allow external auditors access to perform testing needed to complete the City’s 2016 audit, which will play a critical role in re-establishing our bond rating.

● Failed to provide financial reports to city officials for 35 months.

● Failed to process transfer taxes, which caused NYS title companies to send a letter threatening to stop doing business in Mount Vernon. This unprecedented action endangers local homeowners, buyers and realtors.

● Failed to follow legislation passed by City Council and Board of Contract & Estimate.

● Failure to disperse HUD/URA money in a timely manner.

● Failed to pay reimbursements for paving, holding up 2.7 million dollars in CHIPS money over an unpaid $370,000 bill from 2018.

● Failed to sign off the voucher for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services GIVE grant for $220,000. We are currently awaiting reimbursement for $183,000 that we are set to lose because she won’t process.

● Failure to pay public safety personnel. Blocked the hiring of eleven firefighters in Oct/Nov 2019 because a family friend was not selected for the force. We now have eighteen vacancies and are dangerously below national fire standards.

● Failure to follow civil service law. She has refused to produce certified payroll and has been given 43 payroll exception notices that she has ignored. Additionally, she has refused to follow step increases for our civil services employees, many of whom are on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, for the last two years.

● Failure to comply with federal contract requirements related to 666 funds, which is a requirement of the US Department of Justice. She has refused to release these 666 funds desperately needed for the purchase of patrol vehicles, surveillance equipment and body cameras. In an age of police reform, these are critical tools needed to improve public safety.

● Failure to process payments and reimbursements has caused our Veterans Service Agency to lose its accreditation. Our nation’s heroes deserve so much more than to be insulted by the inaction of our Comptroller.

● Failure to accept funds owed and paid to the city. Turning away hundreds of thousands of dollars from revenue generating departments, including parking tickets, a $472k sewer bill in 2019 from the school district and money from PILOTS tax payments ($440,000) and various departmental revenues.

“Through her negligence and lack of transparency, Comptroller Reynolds has hampered the progress of Mount Vernon and exposed our residents to tremendous risk, says Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. “With the very real threat of an impending COVID-19 second wave, we can’t afford another moment of her political machinations. We’re calling on the Comptroller to do her job and release the funds for the City to protect the people of Mount Vernon from the global pandemic.”

“As a strong advocate for Mt. Vernon I fight hard to ensure that state funding flows into our City.” says Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow. “It is not only disheartening but reprehensible to know that $2.7 million in paving funds and $400k in public safety funds are being held up by the Comptroller’s failure to work with City officials to pay bills and process paperwork. Cities across the state are seeing 20% reductions in State funding and we are re-capturing unspent grant monies. We cannot afford to lose funding or decrease essential services to Mount Vernon. Our residents deserve better.”

“In the midst of global pandemic, it is crucial that all Mount Vernon elected officials work together, says State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey. “The financial well-being of our city requires transparency and accountability by its leading fiscal officer. I urge Comptroller Reynolds to put any differences aside she may have and work with the Mayor and City Council to help the residents she serves. This is no time to neglect the needs of our city.

In the midst of a pandemic and widespread economic hardship, the Comptroller must put the people in the City of Mount Vernon first and fulfill her fiscal responsibilities immediately. If she is unwilling to do that, it is time for Governor Cuomo to step in and help Mount Vernon restore its finances and build back its integrity. The people of Mount Vernon cannot afford to wait any longer. We are past pretending that this issue does not exist and will go away on its own.” said NYS Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D34 — Bronx/Westchester)

Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman said “At a time when Mount Vernon needs the support of their government more than ever, elected officials have a responsibility to step up and do our jobs in an exemplary manner. The people of Mount Vernon need relief now. I strongly urge the Comptroller to do what’s right for the people of Mount Vernon.”

“Like the Mayor, the City Council has had difficulty getting financial information from the Comptroller to move the City forward, says City Council President pro tem Marcus A Griffith. “This is a critical issue. We passed legislation to compel Comptroller Reynolds to release financial data, so far, she has not complied. Her disdain for the law is hurting the people of Mount Vernon and making it nearly impossible to both handle our current challenges and plan for the City’s future.”

“As elected officials, we agree to do the best we can for the city we serve, says Councilman Derrick Thompson. Her negligence is an affront to every single Mount Vernon resident. Our City needs and deserves real transparency and accountability from the Comptroller. This crisis of leadership must be resolved, or Mount Vernon residents will continue to suffer.”

“Our City is hurting due to the inaction of Comptroller Reynolds. Last night we almost lost our 911 system, which would’ve removed the ability for anyone to call for an emergency. All because the Comptroller hasn’t paid a maintenance bill, says Police Commissioner Glenn Scott. “This, along with over $850,000 in bills have remained unpaid. Public Safety is a critical need for Mount Vernon and Comptroller Reynolds is putting lives in danger by her refusal to do her job.”

“We almost lost an entire city block to a fire because the Comptroller refused to transfer money for a new aerial ladder truck, says Fire Commissioner Deborah Norman. “Thankfully, our neighbors in NYC allowed us to borrow a truck the day before and it helped save lives and property. Our department has been hampered by COVID-19 and as first responders, the Comptroller’s inaction is putting the lives of our firefighters at risk.”

“The Law Department has tried to work with the Comptroller’s office, but her refusal to cooperate with us has injured the city financially, says Brian Johnson, Mount Vernon’s Corporation Counsel. “The circular nature of her department, in which emails, letters, invoices are not processed timely is causing a serious financial burden. Furthermore, we have been unable to reconcile 2.4 million dollars in legal bills that appear to be on the city’s books.

Mount Vernon is fighting back against her unacceptable behavior and will soon have its day in court. The City is confident that the people will prevail. In the event that Comptroller Reynolds once again refuses to comply, we City officials will call on Attorney General Letitia James and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to intervene.

Watch the full press conference here: http://https://youtu.be/5QRX4VzMDX8

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

City of Mount Vernon issues Stay at Home Advisory Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in New York, the City of Mount Vernon has issued a Stay at Home advisory to protect residents and reduce the spread. In recent weeks, Mount Vernon has experienced a double digit increase in daily COVID-19 cases. Our current active case count currently stands at 124 with 84 new cases added thus far in November. Therefore, the City of Mount Vernon strongly advises residents to stay inside their homes unless traveling for work, school or essential needs. The Mount Vernon COVID-19 taskforce will continue to enforce social distancing regulations and shut down businesses that fail to follow COVID-19 guidelines s well as educating the public about the importance of wearing masks. The Stay at Home advisory goes into effect on Monday, November 16th.

This advisory follows the new order from Governor Andrew Cuomo ordering Bars, Restaurants and Gyms to close at 10pm and the public to significantly reduce the size of gathering. To report on COVID-19 issues contact 914-665-2626 or 914-665-2500.

We also urge residents to get tested at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Mount Vernon Hospital or other medical facilities. As the city continues to address the COVID-19 outbreak, the cooperation of the public will be essential. We will take the necessary actions to protect Mount Vernon residents and continue to urge the use of face masks and social distancing protocols when appropriate. 

Press Release: City of Mount Vernon issues Stay at Home Advisory Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

November 13, 2020- As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in New York, the City of Mount Vernon has issued a Stay at Home advisory to protect residents and reduce the spread. In recent weeks, Mount Vernon has experienced a double-digit increase in daily COVID-19 cases. Our current active case count currently stands at 124 with 84 new cases added thus far in November. Therefore, the City of Mount Vernon strongly advises residents to stay inside their homes unless traveling for work, school, or essential needs. The Mount Vernon COVID-19 taskforce will continue to enforce social distancing regulations and shut down businesses that fail to follow COVID-19 guidelines s well as educating the public about the importance of wearing masks. The Stay at Home advisory goes into effect on Monday, November 16th.

This advisory follows the new order from Governor Andrew Cuomo ordering Bars, Restaurants, and Gyms to close at 10 pm and the public to significantly reduce the size of gathering. To report on COVID-19 issues contact 914-665-2626 or 914-665-2500.

We also urge residents to get tested at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Mount Vernon Hospital, or other medical facilities. As the city continues to address the COVID-19 outbreak, the cooperation of the public will be essential. We will take the necessary actions to protect Mount Vernon residents and continue to urge the use of face masks and social distancing protocols when appropriate. 

Proposals for the 2020 Emergency Solutions Grant Program

The City of Mount Vernon is requesting proposals for the 2020 Emergency Solutions Grant Program.
 
All Applicants Must Attend Pre-Application Workshops:
 
November 10, 2020,10:00am RSVP Here: bit.ly/esgworkshop1
 
Password to view Nov 10 Workshop – Passcode: 5&P7n0p
 
November 12, 2020, 3:00pm RSVP Here: bit.ly/esgworkshop2
 
Password to view Nov 12 Workshop:Passcode –  z!*^8Dh? 
 
Download the application here: bit.ly/esgapplication
 
The application must have the ESG Budget Tool
 
Upload your attachments too our ESG Submission Dropbox HERE
 
The City of Mount Vernon will conduct office hours (virtually) to provide applicants an opportunity to ask programmatic questions.
November 17, 2020, 11:00 a.m. RSVP Here: bit.ly/esghelp
 
For more information visit bit.ly/mvesggrant
NOTE: All bit.ly links are case sensitive.
 
 
 

Rebounding Resilient: Mount Vernon is Bouncing Back

 
Mount Vernon has seen a significant jump in sales tax and is now 220k short from 2019 revenues. We have reported more positive growth than any other major city in Westchester County.
 
The actions of the Patterson-Howard administration around recovery/reopening and the resilience of the Mount Vernon small business community should be a hallmark model for communities to recover from.
 
 
 

Grab & Go

Join us for more FREE “Grab & Go” food distribution events.
The continued partnership between @mayorsph and @feedingwestchester has provided our city with over 1 million pounds of food this year.
 
 

A message from the Mayor: Election Day

Dear Neighbors,

Today is the most important national Election Day of our lifetimes. As we witness brazen voter suppression attempts in crucial battleground states, it’s clear that the power of the vote and the right to participate in this country’s democracy, for which so many of our ancestors fought and bled and died, is on the line. I’m heartened by the thousands of Mount Vernon residents that have already cast early ballots. This election, we must vote as if our lives depend on it, for ourselves and our children, who deserve a future brimming with promise and potential. 

I also urge you to choose a brighter future for Mount Vernon by voting yes on the four charter revision propositions to make our beloved City better through increased fiscal accountability and financial transparency and the ability to effectively plan for its future. 

To restore our bond rating, repair our crumbling infrastructure, and improve our financial standing we must:

  • Fund and adopt a comprehensive plan for the city’s economic development and growth at least once every 10 years.

  • Require independent audits of city government, as well as the Urban Renewal Agency, the Industrial Development Agency, and the Board of Water Supply, at the end of each fiscal year, with no outside auditor doing the work for more than five years.

  • Require quarterly financial reports by the city Comptroller.

  • Create and fund a new charter review commission in two years and every 10 years after that.

Together, we can transform Mount Vernon and our nation and continue our march towards progress.

Sincerely,

Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard

PLANNING BOARD WORK SESSION CANCELLATION NOTICE

The Planning Board Work Session Scheduled for Monday, November 2, 2020 at 6:30pm has been CANCELED due to no pending business.

The Regular meeting of the Planning Board scheduled for Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 6:30 pm will still be held via ZOOM (https://zoom.us/). Please continue to monitor the City’s Website (www.cmvny.com) for meeting updates.

Meeting ID: 898 4047 0735

Password: 072289

Dial In: (646) 876 9923