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Queens Chronicle

City DEP seeks 5.6 percent water hike

Public hearing in Queens on May 2

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:30 am

City residents should brace for another increase in water rates based on a proposal made on April 5 by the city Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP is asking for an increase of 5.6 percent, one that the agency said would increase the average single-family homeowner’s annual bill from $939 a year to $991. The bill for an average multi-family dwelling would go from $610 year year to $644.

“We recognize that any rate increase can be a burden to our customers,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland Jr. in a statement issued last week.

He said they will continue to look for ways to further tighten their belts, and to work with state regulators to reduce costly unfunded mandates.

New rates would be approved on May 10, and would go into effect on July 1, and the DEP is scheduling a series of public hearings on the matter, including one in Queens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 at LaGuardia Community College at 45-50 Van Dam Street in Long Island City.

While the increase would be the lowest increase in eight years, that could appear relative following increases of 9.4, 11.5, 14.5, 12.9 and 12.9 percent each year between 2007 and 2011.

The rates for this year increased 7 percent over fiscal year 2012, and would mean that rates have more than doubled since 2006.

City Comptroller John Liu, who also is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor, panned Strickland’s request in a statement issued by his office last week.

“City Hall’s proposal to hike water prices yet again is another blow to struggling New Yorker’s pocketbooks,” Liu said. “After the astronomical rate rises of the past seven years, it is cold comfort that the proposed hike is ‘only’ 5.6 percent.”

Liu called for city residents to protest the DEP’s request during the public hearing process.

One public hearing will be held in each borough. Further information for those interested in attending can be found online at nyc.gov/nycwaterboard.

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