2017-12-27 / Features

Homeowners Can Now Save With Water Credit

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

Homeowners are getting a break after the New York Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the Water Board that 664,000 city homeowners of one- to three-family homes can receive a credit of $183 on their upcoming water bill.

“The $183 credit will go a long way to helping some of our customers with their bill,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza in a December 20 press release from the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

For the typical single-family homeowner, the $183 credit represents savings of almost 17 percent on their annual water and sewer bills and for approximately 150,000 homeowners, including many seniors, who use less than 95 gallons of water per day and pay the minimum charge, the credit on their annual water and sewer bills is nearly 40 percent.

“(The) city’s proposal to eliminate the rental payment for small homeowners through a credit will help over 664,000 homeowners, a significant majority of all ratepayers,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee in the release. “This much-needed savings goes to those who need it most and ensures that small homeowners can continue to expect uninterrupted water service.”

Queens had the largest number of homeowners getting the $183 credit with 277,495 residents, followed by: Brooklyn with 204,756, Staten Island with 110,462, the Bronx with 65,410, and Manhattan with 6,279.

In Queens Community Board 10 (Howard Beach, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill, Rockwood Park and Lindenwood), where the housing stock is primarily comprised of one- and two-family, owner-occupied homes, Board 10’s Chair Elizabeth Braton said in the release, “We commend the court’s decision.”

In 2016, the city proposed a $183 credit as part of the Water Board’s budget for fiscal 2017. The Water Board approved it, but the credit was legally challenged in New York County’s Supreme Court which invalidated it.

The Water Board appealed that decision and it was upheld by the First Department of the Appellate Division. A further appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals, however, upheld the Water Board’s authority to issue the credit.

“We are pleased that this state’s highest court has declared that the Water Board may lawfully take into account those residents who may have been excluded from past rate relief programs,” said the city’s Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter in the release.

“Rising water rates have been a concern for homeowners across our city for far too long,” said Assembly Member David Weprin in the release. “I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for initially bringing this proposal to light and helping make our city more affordable for New York homeowners.”

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