Assemblyman Goldfeder says ‘enough’ to water-rate hikes

Legislation passes Assembly to hold NYC’s Water Board more accountable to ratepayers
June 18, 2012
In an effort to ensure New York City water rates remain reasonable, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) announced that a bill he sponsored that would change the composition of the New York City Water Board passed the Assembly. The bill would give appointing power to two other offices of the city government and would offer a level of accountability to ratepayers (A.3725-A).

All members of the board are currently appointed by the mayor. Under the proposed legislation, the mayor would be able to appoint four of the seven members with the speaker of the city council, the public advocate and the city comptroller being able to appoint one member to the board each.

“Water is a daily necessity that shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “The mayor shouldn’t have complete control of the city’s water board. By adding two additional offices to the board, we’re one step closer to ensuring the people are properly represented and water rates are left in check.”

Currently, the NYC Water Board sets the rates for water and sewer fees charged to all building owners, homeowners and businesses in the city.

“The fate of our water rates is in the hands of very few,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “That’s why it’s important that there is fair representation on the board. Hardworking New York City families are already struggling; they can’t afford yet another fee. The goal of this legislation is to put real advocates for the hardworking families of New York City on the water board, to help stops in these rates.”

Additionally, in a further push to ease the financial burden on hospitals, charities and not-for-profit organizations, Assemblyman Goldfeder helped pass legislation that would continue reduced water rates for these institutions in NYC until Sept. 1, 2014 (A.9813).

“Water rates have increased at least 33% or more in the last 4 or 5 years,” said Howard Kamph, President of Ozone Park Civic and local homeowner. “They are trying to take away our homes by increasing the water rates and preventing hardworking middle class families from being able to afford their own homes."

“A higher fee for such a basic necessity like water is the last thing our community needs,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “I’ll do my best to ensure water rates don’t continue to spike.”