Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland announced last week that his agency has proposed a 7 percent increase in the Fiscal Year 2013 water rate to the New York City Water Board.
The increase is a 25 percent reduction from the 9.3 percent rate that was projected at the time the FY12 rate was proposed.
It is the lowest such increase in seven years and the third year in a row that the increase has come in significantly below the previous year’s projection.
“In the past three years alone, DEP has instituted three successive rounds of budget tightening measures that have cut more than 15 percent off our operating costs,” Strickland said last Friday in a press release issued by his office.
“Unfortunately, we are still in the position of having to raise rates in order to cover our expenses, particularly the debt service that is the primary driver behind recent water rate increases,” he said.
Since 2002, debt service payments have increased by 176 percent, from $496 million to $1.37 billion, as a result of approximately $15 billion in unfunded federal mandates that translate to higher rates.
Strickland said debt service is projected to increase by an additional $107 million, or 8 percent, in 2012.
The lower-than-projected rate proposal was also the result of a number of operational factors, including three successive years of budget reductions—8 percent in FY11, 4 percent in FY12 and 4 percent in FY13.
If the new percent increase goes into effect, the typical single-family homeowner will see an increase from $877 per year to $939 per year for water and sewer bills – an additional $5 per month.
An average multi-family unit with metered billing will see an increase from $571 per year for each dwelling unit to $610 per year for each dwelling unit – an additional $3.25 per month.
Following five public hearings, throughout all the city’s boroughs, the Water Board will vote on the water rate on May 4. If passed, it will take effect on July 1.
The public hearing in Queens is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, at Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.