Mayor: Mount Vernon City Council needs to get on board with water plan

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MOUNT VERNON -

Mount Vernon's City Council meeting was packed Wednesday evening as the city faces a federal lawsuit over the Clean Water Act.

Federal authorities are accusing Mount Vernon of violating the act, and Mayor Richard Thomas says the City Council needs to get on board with his plan to fix the problems.

The contentious meeting was filled with angry residents, one of whom allegedly made threatening remarks toward Mount Vernon's mayor.

The City Council says it falls on the mayor to submit progress reports to the federal government - something they say he hasn't done.

Thomas says if the city doesn't act now, the residents could bear the burden with a major property tax hike he says could exceed 200 percent.

A lawsuit handed down last month accuses the city of allowing raw sewage to pollute the waterways. The city's sewer system flows straight to the Hutchinson and Bronx rivers.

The mayor says he needs the council's help to approve more funding and resources.

The City Council maintains it's the mayor who needs to step up, adding in a statement, "Mayor Thomas' claims are exaggerated and unsubstantiated. The complaint from the DOJ is clear: there are two (2) outstanding reports due from the city - 2017 and 2018. The Thomas administration has failed to submit the reports on the progress of work done to repair the city's sewers."

The lawsuit tacks on millions in fines that Thomas says could potentially bankrupt the city.

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