Assembly Members Paulin, Otis and Abinanti Announce Signing of Fire Hydrant Bill into Law

Scarsdale – Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88), along with Assemblymen Steve Otis (D-91) and Thomas Abinanti (D-92), are pleased to announce that bill A.4086-A was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

This law authorizes the public service commission, upon application by a municipality, to allow costs for fire hydrant infrastructure maintenance and access to be charged to all water customers. Savings achieved as a result of this action shall be given back to property tax payers within the municipality.

While this practice has been the case for many municipalities, such as New York City, that have their own water systems, it is not true for those municipalities that buy their water from a private company. This bill remedies this inequity and allows communities in Westchester to be treated like the majority of communities across the state.

“This bill will relieve some of the economic stress on cities and municipalities in Westchester,” Paulin said. “It would allow communities in Westchester to be treated like 99 percent of the rest of the state. If you look at the respective budgets in each of the towns that this bill would impact, there is a line item that, in some cases, costs those towns as much as $1 million. This law will defray those costs while costing consumers little in the way of out-of-pocket expenses.”

There are 10 municipalities in Westchester, including several in the 88th, 91st and 92nd Districts, which will be impacted by this bill. New Rochelle, Eastchester, Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Pelham, Pelham Manor, Port Chester, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Hastings will be impacted by the law.

"I commend Governor Cuomo for signing our legislation that provides property tax relief for communities serviced by private water companies,” Otis said. “Now, as in most of the state, the cost of fire hydrant maintenance and access will be borne by all water ratepayers, not just municipal property taxpayers. We have worked with Westchester municipalities for several years to achieve this victory."

Abinanti added that “the legislation is intended to more fairly distribute the costs of operating fire hydrants. It eliminates an archaic exception for these municipalities and conforms them to the common practice in New York State of requiring all water users to pay for all water related infrastructure."

Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35) sponsored the bill in the New York State Senate.