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NYC DEP proposes lowest water rate increase in 9 years


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing a 3.35 percent water rate increase, the lowest hike in nine years.

The “reduction was achieved through internal cost-cutting measures and by redirecting part of the excess rental payment that had been adding to ratepayers’ bills,” according the DEP.

Photo courtesy of DEP

The DEP also said Wednesday that for the first time it is recommending freezing the minimum charge for customers that use fewer than 100 gallons per day. The charge would be $1.27 per day.

“By cutting costs, refinancing higher interest debt, and reducing the rental payment, we are able to deliver the lowest rate increase in nearly a decade, and the 25 percent of single family homeowners who use the least water will not receive any increase at all,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.

For the average customer, the new water rate would mean that a typical single-family homeowner will see an increase from $992 a year to $1,025 a year for water and sewer bills (based on an average consumption of 80,000 gallons of water per year), according to the DEP.

Following the proposal and public hearing, the New York City Water Board is responsible for establishing the rate.

The board has scheduled a public hearing in Queens for Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m at the Bayswater Jewish Center, 23-55 Healy Ave., Far Rockaway.

 

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Board approves 7 percent water rate hike


| brennison@queenscourier.com

For the 16th consecutive year, New York City residents’ water bill will swell.

The seven-member water board approved a 7 percent hike in water rates at a vote Friday morning.

“The 7 percent 2013 fiscal year rate increase is the lowest increase in seven years and is 25 percent lower than the increase projected at this time last year,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland.

The increase will add more than $60 per year to the average one family home’s water bill.

“When an agency is proud that you only have to raise your rates by 7 percent, than we know we have a problem,” said Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder during a public hearing on the rate hikes at Christ the King High School on Thursday, April 26.

At the meeting, the DEP blamed much of the rate hikes on mandated projects from the state and federal government that require the DEP to perform projects despite receiving no funds. That is the primary driver of the rates, the agency said.

This fiscal year, those mandates cost homeowners $253, according to the DEP.

Edward Schubert, an Ozone Park resident who bought a house in the neighborhood was one of the few residents to speak at the hearing.

“The middle class is really suffering right now,” Schubert told the water board. “It’s the wrong time for these increases.”

In the seven years since moving into his house, Schubert has seen his water rates almost double.

The new rate will go into effect on July 1.