City councilman accuses Mt. Vernon mayor of running slush fund

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MOUNT VERNON -

A longtime critic is accusing Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas of taking water bill revenue and transferring it to accounts of his choosing.

Mount Vernon City Councilman Andre Wallace is calling for an investigation after claiming Thomas is using the Water Department as a slush fund operation.

Wallace says dozens of residents have reached out to him complaining of the price of their water bills doubling in the past few years. 

According to Wallace, Thomas is using the water department as a money-making operation to generate millions of dollars by deliberately manipulating the water bills. He adds that the mayor is hiding the money from the comptroller and City Council members.

"Usage for a family of four has gone down. Yet, the price of water has doubled and tripled," says Wallace.

Mt. Vernon Water Commissioner John Arena is disputing the claims, saying, "This has nothing to do with the mayor ... any extra money goes to the comptroller."

Arena says the city recently raised rates for the first time in three years, but he does not anticipate another hike in the near future.

Arena added that the rate went up because New York City, where Mount Vernon buys its water from, raised rates.

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