Calling it the lowest increase in eight years, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed on Friday, April 5, to increase water rates yet again, this time by 5.6 percent.
Today we are able to propose a rate lower than we anticipated thanks in large part to our continued commitment to be more efficient and cut costs without sacrificing the quality of the services we provide to New Yorkers, said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.
The raise would mean that a typical single-family homeowner would see an increase from $939 to $991 a year for water and sewer bills, a change which stirred outrage locally.
You may hear the DEP boast that this is the lowest increase weve seen in years, but ask just about any homeowner and they will tell you their water bills are much too high! In fact, overall water rates have skyrocketed 78 percent since 2005! So the term lowest increase is somewhat of an oxymoron, said Justin Brannan, press secretary to Councilmember Vincent Gentile.
State Senator Martin Golden concurred, calling it unconscionable to think that the rates need to be raised again.
Water rates have gone from $1.44 in 2003 to $3.39 in 2013 per 100 cubic feet, he stressed. Thats 2.4 times the price it was just 10 years ago. It is getting harder and harder for our middle class families to afford a day in New York City, and all this rate increase would do is bring even more burden onto our families and businesses.
City Comptroller John C. Liu was amongst those who disagree with the raise. City Halls proposal to hike water prices yet again is another blow to struggling New Yorkers pocketbooks. After the astronomical rate rises of the past seven years, it is cold comfort that the proposed hike is only 5.6 percent. Citizens should protest this proposed hike at the coming hearings, he said.
People in the streets of Bay Ridge agreed. Everythings going up, said Armand Toledo; although he does not own a house, hes worried his rent is going to increase as a result of the increase.
I dont like it. Things are crazily high, concurred Many Sanduels, from Long Island City.
Strickland said that hes aware that raises can be a burden to New Yorkers, but contended that theyre getting the best possible water and wastewater services at most affordable rates.
The New York City Water Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 30, at 7 p.m. at IS 228, David Boody, 228 Avenue S.