New Yorkers Face 40% Water Rate Hike by ‘09

Source: 
The New York Post

By 2009, New Yorkers may have to pay 40 percent more for water, according to a report in the New York Post Sunday.

That translates to an extra $220 per year for the average single-family homeowner – from $554 to $774 annually.

The mere 3 percent increase proposed for this (election) year is down a bit from the 5.5 percent hikes of the previous two years.

According to projections, though, water rates will immediately increase another 5.6 percent next year, followed by three years of 8.7 percent increases, which will be the largest rise in water rates in 15 years, and the biggest five-year increase since the early '90s.

"The rate increase this year is not big news," said Jim Tripp, chairman of the city's Water Board, which proposed the rates.

"For anyone concerned about water rates, the question is not what's happening this year but where we are headed," he told Sam Smith of The Post.

Each year, the Water Board proposes a rate increase and approves it following public hearings. It also projects the amount of increases needed over the next five years.

Often, increases come in lower than they have been projected –

Due to favorable interest rates in recent years, increases often come in lower than they have been projected. However, Tripp believes that won't be the case this time.

The primary reason for the increases, Tripp explained, is the city Department of Environmental Protection's huge debt load and massive five-year capital plan.

The department will pay $722.3 million to service its debt load of nearly $14 billion in fiscal 2006 alone. Over the next five years, another $8 billion in debt will be added.

Furthermore, the DEP's five-year capital plan will cost over $10 billion.

The Water Board will hold public hearings to discuss rate increases in each of the five boroughs beginning May 2.

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