Mount Vernon sewer and refuse fees to increase under proposed $135.6M budget

Property owners in Mount Vernon may soon be paying additional fees for water usage and garbage pickup.
City officials say the increase is a move to help keep taxes down and raise money for infrastructure projects.            
The sewer and refuse sustainability fees are a major new source of revenue in Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard's proposed 2022 budget.
Property owners would be charged an additional $1.25 per 100 cubic feet of water used, nearly 33% of the current water rate.

The refuse fee would be $200 per housing unit, meaning a three-family home would be charged $600. The refuse fee for a single family home would amount to about $17 dollars a month.
The mayor says that even the school district would be charged the fees.
Mayor Patterson-Howard said the fees are similar to those charged in other Westchester municipalities, including Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle.

She says it represents “good governance" and is an opportunity for Mount Vernon to "catch up" in how it budgets and how it raises funds to pay for services.
The mayor warns that without the nearly $9 million that is budgeted for the fees, taxes could rise to nearly 18% to keep city services at their current level.
"I support it only if the money is allocated and managed wisely. If it's just another tax on the people, and it's just a take and not a give it's not smart. It's not sustainable," says Mount Vernon home owner Barry Nembhard.
The City Council will need to approve the fees the mayor has proposed in her budget. The numbers were discussed at a virtual public hearing last night on the proposed $135.6 million budget.