Pols rail against water hike
By Adam Wisnieski
The Department of Environmental Protection plans to jack up water rates by 7 percent beginning Sunday, July 1 and nobody seems to be happy about it.
Elected officials and residents turned out to the Riverdale YM-YWHA on April 25 for a public hearing by the New York City Water Board.
Councilman Oliver Koppell testified against the Water Board’s proposed 7 percent increase and said the change could have been avoided.
He said the DEP needs to address its delinquent accounts and that the agency only has a payment rate of 88 percent.
“This payment rate is the same as last year’s, but it’s still not nearly as high as the rates achieved by other utilities... I am very disappointed that the payment rate has not improved,” Mr. Koppell said, according to his testimony.
He also said the DEP needs to either delay some of its capital projects or find other sources of revenue.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said maybe the DEP is to blame.
“Much of the rising costs of the Department of Environmental Protection appear to be of the agency’s own making, and should not be shouldered by everyday New Yorkers,” he testified.
Mr. Diaz referred to the Croton Water Filtration Plant, currently in its final stages of construction in Van Cortlandt Park, as an example of the DEP’s gaffs.
He said the cost of building the plant was more than double its original $900 million estimate — in fact, it has more than tripled to over $3 billion.
Kingsbridge Heights residents, who have endured the construction of the filtration facilities in Vannie, at the Jerome Park Reservoir and on local streets for years don’t need another reason to loathe the DEP. But if the water hike goes through, the DEP may gain a lot more enemies: every homeowner in the city.
“We understand that times are tough, and that everyone must do more with less. Well, maybe it’s time for struggling homeowners to ask the same of the Department of Environmental Protection,” Mr. Diaz said.