Tag Archives: increase

NYC water rates set to go up again this July


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

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In what’s become an annual rite of spring in New York City, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommended a water rate increase Friday.

Calling it the lowest suggested increase in a decade, the DEP formally requested that the New York City Water Board raise rates by 3.24 percent, even lower than the 4.9 percent increase projected last year.

For owners of single-family homes, their yearly water bills will climb about $33 per year, from $1,025 to $1,058, based on the average consumption of 80,000 gallons per year. Multi-family homeowners will pay, on average, about $23 more per unit annually, from $666 to $689 based on an average annual water consumption of 52,000 gallons.

The DEP will also ask the Water Board to continue freezing the minimum charge for homeowners who use approximately 100 gallons or less per day; these customers are charged $1.27 per day, or $463.55 per year.

“By implementing effective costs controls, refinancing higher interest debt and reducing the rental payment, we are able to deliver the lowest water rate increase in a decade, and the 25 percent of single family homeowners who use the least water will not receive any increase at all,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said. “In addition, we have put together a package of initiatives to provide relief to nearly 50,000 additional low-income, senior and disabled customers.”

The package Lloyd mentioned includes the proposed expansion of the Home Water Assistance Program, which provides annual credits to low-income families who qualify for the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP); credits for those who enroll in the DEP’s monthly e-billing program; and $100 credits for those who participate in the lead and cooper monitoring program.

Though the DEP touted the reduced increase, one elected official — Councilman Donovan Richards, who chairs the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee — said the city needed to ease homeowners’ burdens even further.

“The financial burden of offsetting the costs of maintaining the city’s vast sewer and water system cannot be placed on single-family homeowners, many of whom are seniors,” Richards said. “Considering the hardships that many lower-income families are facing, it is important to retain reduction measures — including a minimum $1.27 daily flat rate and expanding the Home Water Payment Assistant Program to absorb these increased costs.”

Queens residents will get their chance to speak for or against the water rate increase on Thursday, April 30, at the Water Board’s public hearing in Long Island City. The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. at LaGuardia Community College, 45-50 Van Dam St., Conference Room E-242. Click here for more details.

The Water Board is expected to formally adopt water rates for the city’s 2016 fiscal year on May 8; the new rates will take effect on July 1.

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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.

 

Incensed by parking meter increase


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Queens drivers are reaching deeper into their pockets — more often — to park around the borough

“I have to constantly feed the meter, when I can barely feed myself in this economy,” said Theresa Bulgosi as she shopped along Vernon Boulevard.

City motorists now get only 15 minutes for a quarter — $1 for an hour. The rates were raised as part of the city’s budget plan. The timing adjustments began in Queens this summer as new muni-meters were installed.

“The city increased the prices and lowered the time. I think that’s an outrage. I know they’re desperate for money but just cut off the welfare. A quarter was for 20 minutes, now it’s for 15 minutes. It makes a difference when you’re constantly parking,” said Grace Lorini, in front of Banana Republic on Austin Street in Forest Hills.

Many areas of Queens were already outfitted with muni-meters, but the city plans to replace all single space meters with muni-meters throughout the borough by June of next year.

The installation of muni-meters began in Forest Hills — parts of 71st Drive, 73rd Place, 80th and Selfridge Streets — and Middle Village — on Metropolitan Avenue from 69th Street to 74th Avenue – on Saturday, October 1.

Store owner Judy Zhu from Valuclean Cleaners on Bell Boulevard pays about four dollars a day in the muni-meters, which only lasts four hours, but that doesn’t stop her from getting tickets.

“In the past two weeks, I got three tickets. I went inside the cleaners to get change for the car and when I returned I already got a ticket for $35,” said Zhu.

Janet Akilov agreed and said, “It’s too expensive now and it makes me rush while shopping or eating,” while waiting for her muni-meter receipt to print in front of Kabul Kabob Restaurant on Main Street, Flushing.

Though drivers are incensed by increased rates, some see the advantages muni-meters provide – such as providing more parking spaces and accepting credit/debit cards.

“It’s nice not to have to carry around a pocketful of quarters around anymore just for meters,” said Thom Lee, a LaGuardia Community College student.

For those still partial to the single space meters, a request for proposal was issued for a vendor to sell the meters as memorabilia.