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Local pols push taxpayers to speak out against water rate hikes

Local politicians are sick of seeing their constituents get “soaked” by the New York City Water Board.

“The Water Board needs to know that their thoughtless decisions and actions have negative financial consequences for the hardworking people of our city,” said State Senator Marty Golden, urging residents to attend a public hearing later this month protesting a projected 3.24 percent rate hike on water bills, announced by the board on Friday, March 27.

If approved, the increase would be reflected on statements starting this July, raising the average annual single family charge (80,000 gallons) $33 dollars from $1,025 to $1,058 a year.

“The only chance we have to stop the NYC Water Board’s soaking of taxpayers is by attending the public hearing and expressing our outrage,” Golden said. “The Water Board must hear from us before they approve any water rate increases that will contribute to the financial drowning of New Yorkers.”

According to the agency, the Fiscal Year 2016 Rate Proposal is 34 percent lower than last year’s projection thanks, in part, to strong revenues from the 2015 fiscal year. In addition, the board’s revenues are projected to be $82 million ahead of plan.
Either way, politicians say, enough is enough.

“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile, stressing that the city’s water rates have skyrocketed nearly 80 percent since 2005. “You often hear the Department of Environmental Protection boast that this is the ‘lowest increase’ we’ve seen in years but ask just about any homeowner and they will tell you their water bills are much too high.”

“The term ‘lowest increase’ is a total oxymoron,” Gentile went on, wondering where the days of saving water and taxpayer money have gone. “If the future is all about increased sales and maximum revenue, I’m afraid we’re heading down the wrong path, and telling taxpayers ‘at least it’s not as bad as last year’ is an insult and no consolation. At the very least, homeowners deserve to know where their hard-earned money is going and why.”

Brooklyn’s public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. The meeting will take place in St. Francis College’s Founders Hall, 180 Remsen Street.

Those unable to attend their local hearing can submit their comments via e-mail at nycwaterboard@dep.nyc.gov.

“Stop soaking taxpayers,” said Golden.

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