Today, the NYC Water Board met to consider the water and sewer rate for 2023-2024. The DEP is proposing a rate increase of 4.42%. The Water Board will conduct a series of public hearings in May, and announce their final decision at the end of the month. We at Ashokan anticipate that the final rate increase will be 4.4%, resulting in a rate of $11.64 per 100 cubic feet.
Great news! At today’s NYC Water Board meeting, it was announced that the DEP will be extending the deadline for the Water Bill Amnesty Program. New Yorkers have until the end of May 2023 to submit an application. The Amnesty Program offers customers up to 100% forgiveness of accrued interest if they pay all or part of their outstanding debt and enter into a payment agreement. Payment can be made online or in-person with the DEP.
To learn more about the Amnesty Program, click here:
We encourage anyone you know who may be behind on their water bill to take advantage of this offer. Once it is over, the DEP will begin aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against delinquent accounts that did not take advantage of the amnesty. The application is easy, but if you need help, please contact Ashokan to consult with our auditor Dov Vinar at 718-307-1242.
The DEP held a public water board meeting on Friday April 29th and proposed a 4.9% water rate increase, citing lower consumption and water bills not being paid. Consumers will be shocked, as there has been minimal increases in recent years, and this would be the LARGEST increase that we have seen in some time. We predict that the DEP will reduce the increase from 4.9% to 4.7%.
The meeting also included measures to increase the late payment fee, and an increase in capital construction funding by 21%. There will be public hearings held in the coming months with rate updates and revisions for NYC.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that $69.8 million in federal funds will be made available to support low-income New Yorkers in paying past-due bills for drinking water and wastewater. The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), provides eligible applicants with “up to $2,500 for drinking water arrears and $2,500 for wastewater arrears to help them avoid service interruptions when the moratorium on shutoffs expires next month.”
This initiative will assist approximately 105,000 homes within New York.
According to Governor Hochul, the program was created to help struggling New Yorkers recover from the pandemic. Anyone who is interested can simply apply online.
Mayor de Blasio appointed Vincent Sapienza as acting Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner earlier this month to replace the departing Emily Lloyd. Sapienza has been dragged to the front row as a figurehead representing the DEP after maintaining a non-political post in charge of the DEP’s infrastructure.
The boots Sapienza will be stepping into will no doubt be muddy. Emily Lloyd left behind a number of major challenges that need to be addressed immediately.
The first challenge is the absence of the water rate increase. For the first time since 1995, the water rate increase was revoked by court. How will the Water Board balance its budget if New York City citizens won’t be charged more for water? This is great news for the people but what will happen to the dynamics of political funds?
Another challenge Sapienza will duel with are concerns the Multi-family Conservation Program (MCP) applications. MCP allows flat-rate billing of water bills for buildings with four or more apartments. The MCP program can help save water but thousands of MCP applications are backed up and the MCP guidelines are being ignored. Is the DEP withholding from processing these applications because they know they will lose money?
These problems presented require a permanent commissioner, not from an acting commissioner. I strongly urge Mayor de Blasio to appoint Vincent Sapienza to be the permanent DEP commissioner so these issues can be dealt with. This is a time of crisis for the DEP, the DEP’s reputation and trust from the people are at stake and we need someone with a firm grip on the steering wheel, not an acting commissioner.
After over forty years of public service to the City of New York, DEP’s Commissioner Emily Lloyd has taken a definitive leave of retirement due to her medical condition.
We at Ashokan greatly thank Emily for her services to the public and for her contributions to the people of New York City. Emily has worked as the DEP’s Commissioner for two terms; the first during Mayor Bloomberg’s reign and now under de Blasio’s governing hands. Her efforts have and ensured that all NYC residents have access to the cleanest water in the eastern seaboard.
Ex-Commissioner Lloyd has an outstanding history of serving the public. She has held positions such as the Commissioner of Sanitation and as President of the Prospect Park Alliance. Ms. Lloyd’s efforts has done so much for the people of New York throughout her career in order to ensure the protection and maintenance of the city’s recreational areas.
We all wish her a warm goodbye and the best with her recovery in the future.
Just short of a week ago, Supreme Justice Carol Edmead voided the Water Board and City Hall’s authority to impose a water rate hike for this year as well as terminated the program to reimburse small homeowners on their water bill credit.
Citing unfair and preferential distribution of funds, the city of New York and the Water Board were stopped in their tracks by the people of New York.
Thanks should be given to Joseph Strasburg of the Rent Stabilization Association who fought against City Hall and the Water Board for this win for the people of New York.
Further applause should be given to Justice Edmead who is protecting the taxpayers of New York and our fragile water system from the greedy hands of politicians.
Dressed in an ash grey suit with a periwinkle tie, Mayor Bill de Blasio exclaimed, “Today we are righting (sic) a wrong”. Back in late April in Bay Ridge, Mayor de Blasio developed a plan for New York City homeowners to save money on their water bills by having the city present a one-time water credit to all homeowners within the five boroughs.
“This is part of an overall effort to address the needs of everyday working people all over the city to make sure that what city does is fair,” proclaimed de Blasio.
The push for this proposal was de Blasio’s belief that homeowners within the five boroughs were paying too much for their water bills. Backed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Commissioner Emily Lloyd, de Blasio proposed a $183 one-time water bill credit to all homeowners with one to three family units within the five boroughs.
According to de Blasio, the proposed bill would cover about 664,000 homeowners for the summer. The 664,000 homeowners make up about 80 percent of all water bill accounts. With this one-time bill credit, homeowners can save 17 to 40 percent on their annual water bill.
Seniors who make up 120,000 of the total amount of homeowners residing in the city will also benefit greatly from an additional bill credit.
“This action we are announcing today will save homeowners across all five boroughs a total of 82 million dollars in fiscal year 2016, the fiscal year we are in right now. Eighty-two million,” said de Blasio.
According to the DEP, this credit program has already passed water board committee members and will be in effect as of July 1st. This is the first step in a series of changes the mayor is attempting to put into effect for water use policies.
While it’s true that most (if not all) of our Ten Ways to Save the DEP, point to the reduction of spending and debt in one way or another, they have all really been about other things. For example, we talked about stormwater rates, which would raise more money and therefore reduce debt. We talked about automating the permit process, thereby streamlining bureaucracy in order to reduce spending and debt. Even fixing the Delaware Aqueduct would save the DEP money because they’d no longer have 36 million gallons of water a day going to waste.
However, the purpose of the suggestion that you’re reading about now is to discuss one concrete proposal that the DEP can easily implement that would make them greener, safer and more efficient. We at WaterWatchNYC urge the DEP to adopt BMPs.
BMPs, or Best Management Practices, are a series of guidelines aimed at water pollution control. The guidelines also make treatment and distribution processes more efficient, thereby saving money. Just a short list of things that fall under the category of BMPs that can be implemented in NYC:
The best thing about BMPs is that the ideas and guidelines already exist. We do need someone to come up with the next big thing in water conservation and pollution management and control. But until then, we have existing guidelines set forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Let’s use them.