For the first time in two years, New York City has recommended increasing the rate charged to homeowners for receiving water and sewer services.
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed a 2.76% hike in the water rate to the New York City Water Board, which will hold two public hearings next month on the matter. The rate was flat last year as the city grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
If approved, the average single-family homeowner in New York City will see their water and sewer bills rise from about $967 to $994 a year, based on an average annual consumption of about 70,000 gallons of water. This translates to a monthly increase of $2.22.
For multi-family units, property owners will see their annual water and sewer bills jump by $20 per apartment — from $718 to $738 a year per unit. That’s a monthly increase of about $1.65 per month based on an average consumption of 52,000 of water per unit each year.
But the news isn’t all bad for homeowners. The DEP also proposed an $8 million expansion of its Home Water Assistance Program, which would provide a $145 water/sewer bill credit to up to 96,000 low-income households. Additionally, the city also aims to provide a $2 million boost its Multi-family Water Assistance Program which offers $250 credits for property owners who won buildings wth at least 15 years remaining on a rental affordability agreement with the city.
Moreover, the DEP recommends freezing the minimum daily water charge of $1.27 per day for the sixth consecutive year. This primarily covers homeowners, including many senior citizens, who use less than 902 gallons of water a day and spend an average of about $464 per year on water/sewer services.
Even with the proposed rate hike, according to DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza, New York City would still have water rates 20% below the average of the 30 largest cities in America. He attributed the reduced increase to the de Blasio Administration’s commitment to lower rental payments within the water system, which saves more than a billion dollars.
“Thanks in large part to Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to return the rental payment to the water system, in addition to effective management of DEP’s operations and the system’s balance sheet, we are able to fully fund the city’s critical drinking water and wastewater systems while keeping the cost of water in New York City below the national average,” Sapienza said.
The Water Board’s public hearings, which are held via conference call, will take place at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1; and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2. To participate in either call, dial 347-921-5612 and use the access code (June 1 code – 107181687#, June 2 code – 875205402#).
You can also send in written testimony in advance of the public hearings by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing NYC Water Board, 59-17 Junction Blvd., 8th Floor, Elmhurst, NY 11373.
If approved by the Water Board in June, the new rates will take effect July 1, the start of the city’s new fiscal year.