Any New Yorker who has ever gotten a traffic ticket while Mike Bloomberg has been in office likely knows about Bloomberg’s brilliant ideas to increase the city’s income without raising taxes.
For many years, one of the city’s greatest sources of income has been their lease agreement with the Water Board. The Water Board pays the city exorbitant amounts for their use of the reservoirs and tunnels. The amount paid depends not on the value of these systems but is a percentage of the DEP’s spending. The more the DEP spends on things like upkeep and expansion, the more revenue the city gets. The worst part is that the city doesn’t even have to use this money for water related issues. They can use it for anything from education to street paving.
The city has a similarly absurd agreement with the DEP regarding sanitation. Since dirty streets contaminate clean water when it rains, the city charges the DEP for street cleaning.
These are two of the biggest issues currently facing the DEP and the Water Board. Former Water Board Chair Jim Tripp fought hard against this type of backdoor financing and in July, 2008 considered resigning over the lease agreement. Was the city’s intransigence on this issue the straw that broke the camel’s back?
New York City will miss Jim Tripp’s perseverance. Will the new Water Board Chair, Alan Moss, fight for what’s best for the residents of New York, or is he in the pocket of the city officials that got him appointed to the Water Board in the first place?