By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A plan to hike water usage rates in New York City by 5.6 percent is all wet, according to state Sen. Marty Golden. Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) said his cup runneth over with anger toward the New York City Department of Environmental Protection he plans to protest the proposed rate increase at a Brooklyn hearing next week.
DEP proposed the rate increase to the New York City Water Board. The board, which is holding public hearings in each of the five boroughs to solicit feedback from residents before voting on the plan, will come to Brooklyn on April 30. The hearing is scheduled to take place at David Boody Intermediate School, 228 Ave. S in Bensonhurst, starting at 7 p.m.
Golden said he plans to mobilize opposition to the water rate increase and show up at the hearing with angry residents.
The average water bill for a New York City homeowner is expected to go from $939 annually to $991, Golden said. The http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/04/new_york_city_water_rate_set_t.html Staten Island Advance reported that the new rate would go into effect on July 1.
He called on the water board not to increase water and sewage fees. The proposed increase, the 10th hike in as many years, is stifling the much needed income of already struggling middle class families, he said.
“Water rates have gone from $1.44 in 2003 to $3.39 in 2013 per 100 cubic feet. That’s 2.4 times the price it was just 10 years ago,” Golden said. “It’s unconscionable to think that we need to raise these rates again. It is getting harder and harder for our middle class families to afford to stay in New York City, and all this rate increase would do is bring even more burden on to our families and businesses. I am calling on the Water Board to re-consider this increase, as we need to make life more affordable, not less affordable,” Golden said.
Over the past decade, water and sewer rates have increased at a rate that far exceeds any other staple of daily life, according to Golden, who cited figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The price of milk has increased 1.3 times from 2003 to 2013. A loaf of bread has increased 1.4 times in that same time period, and a carton of eggs 1.6 times.
But DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland contended that the rate hike is the lowest increase in eight years and the fourth year in a row that the increase has come in significantly below the previous year’s projection.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“Still, we recognize that any rate increase can be a burden on our customers, and we will continue to look for ways to further tighten our belts and work with our regulators to reduce the burden of unfunded mandates so that New Yorkers get the best possible water and wastewater services at the most affordable rates,” Strickland said.