Assemblyman Goldfeder Addresses Recent Water Rate Hike Proposal

Proposes legislation to cap water rate hikes at 4 percent
April 30, 2012
Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) announced he has authored legislation to cap annual water rate increases at 4 percent a year for cities with populations over 1 million.

“Water rates are at an all-time high in Queens, and the proposed rate hike would make them increase even higher,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “A higher fee for water is the last thing our community needs right now. Capping water rate hikes at 4 percent allows the DEP to manage their budget but more importantly it gives Queens families protection from excessive fees.”

Assemblyman Goldfeder authored the legislation in response to the recent proposal by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to increase water rates for this year by 7 percent. Following five public hearings, throughout the five boroughs, the Water Board will vote on the water rate on May 4. If passed, it will take effect on July 1. The increase would constitute a 78 percent increase in the cost of water rates since 2005i.

“While the city has downplayed the rate hike proposal by claiming it is well under the originally projected rate increase of more than 9 percent, 7 percent is still a substantial increase over current water rates,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “Not only will it impact daily life for the families of Southern Queens and Rockaway, but some families may look to move from our community due to the high cost of living.”

If the new 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.

“The rate hike is ultimately another tax and an additional fee that working and middle class families, who are already struggling, can’t afford right now,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “Water is a basic necessity for families and they should never have to decide between paying a ridiculously expensive tax to use it each month or cut back on such fundamental things as doing laundry, bathing their children or washing dishes.”