Assembly Members Denounce Excessive Proposed Water Rates; Proposed Rates Exceed Costs by Nearly 20%

New York, NY – Assembly Members David I. Weprin (D-Queens) and Assembly Member James F. Brennan (D-Brooklyn) held a press conference on Sunday April 18, 2010 in City Hall Park, regarding the impending water rate hikes by the New York City Water Board. Since 2007, the New York City Water Board has consistently raised water rates by double digit percentages and is poised to raise their rates again by an additional 12.9% on July 1, 2010. This increase will raise the water bill for an average single family home to $816 annually and the bill for an average apartment to $513 annually. This increase could not come at a worse time as many New Yorkers have been deeply affected by this economic downturn. The proposed water rate increases exceed the costs of providing water and sewer service by $560 million which is nearly 20% of the proposed rates. One issue that needs to be addressed is the Water Board’s rental agreement with New York City which enables the City to charge rental fees that exceed the city’s costs of operating the water and sewer system. This rental agreement was initially designed to cover the debt service costs of residual general obligation bonds that the Water Finance Authority and Water Board assumed when the Water Board was created. These bonds are expiring and the rental agreement is creating a surplus for NYC. Additionally, there needs to be greater accountability on the part of the Water Board, which is comprised strictly of Mayoral appointees. Assembly Member Weprin is introducing legislation that improves the composition of the Water Board. “It is time to take Water Board control from the hands of the Mayor and put an end to years of unnecessary water rate increases” said Mr. Weprin. Assembly Member Weprin’s proposal includes board member appointments from various other New York City offices and establishes term limits for board members. Assembly Member Brennan has introduced legislation to limit increases in the debts of the Water Finance Authority to 6% a year and will submit additional legislation to limit the ability of the City to profit from the water system. “Charging excessive rates for water, which is basic necessity of life, is doing real economic harm to our rate payers” said Mr. Brennan. The Water Board will be holding public hearings in May on their proposed rate increases. Very often, the opinions of the citizens of New York City are not taken into consideration and increases are enacted as planned. We strongly urge our citizens to attend these public hearings and state your views on this important matter. Bronx: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Doors open at 6:00 pm, public hearing at 7:00 pm.
Public School 14
3041 Bruckner Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10461 Brooklyn: Thursday, May 13th, 2010
Doors open at 6:00 pm, public hearing at 7:00 pm.
Public School 102
211 72nd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11209 Manhattan: Friday, May 7, 2010
Doors open at 1:30 pm, public hearing at 2:00 pm.
City Planning Commission
22 Reade Street
New York, NY 10007 Manhattan: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Doors open at 6:00 pm, public hearing at 7:00 pm.
Public School 124
40 Division Street
New York, NY 10002 Queens: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Doors open at 6:00 pm, public hearing at 7:00 pm.
Edison High School
165-65 84th Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11432 Staten Island: Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Doors open at 7:00 pm, public hearing at 8:00 pm.
Wagner High School
1200 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314 For more information the public can contact: NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Communications & Intergovernmental Affairs
(718) 595 - 6600