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Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to senior residents in Bayside.

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center in Bayside last week to discuss city cost of living concerns with senior residents.

“Let’s face it,” de Blasio said at the discussion on Dec. 8. “It’s hard to make ends meet in New York City, correct? Not just for a few people: [for] millions of people.”

The mayor first spoke about a water and sewer bill credit the NYC water board approved in April which would have granted each eligible homeowners a one-time $183 credit. The credit was meant to repay what the mayor called a “hidden tax” in the water bill — a charge marked as a “rental payment.”

“People were spending money on the water bill, [and] it was going to things that had nothing to do with water,” de Blasio said. “I said, ‘If you pay a water bill, you should just pay for the water.'”

According to the mayor, the credit was later turned down in a ruling by the New York State Supreme Court that determined the water board exceeded its authority by granting the credit. The court petition was filed by the Rent Stabilization Association and three Brooklyn real estate companies.

“We’re gonna fight them,” de Blasio said. “I believe we’re gonna win in the end.”

The mayor also discussed senior housing cost concerns. According to de Blasio, almost 80,000 seniors and disabled individuals are eligible for a rent freeze through the city’s Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs and are not getting it.

“We are now sending our teams of people all over the city to find people who are eligible for these programs and get them signed up,” de Blasio said.

More information about both rent stabilizing programs can be found here and here.

“If anyone knows anybody who might be eligible, we want to get them those forms,” de Blasio said.

Local representatives Councilman Paul Vallone and Councilman Costa Constantinides were also present for the mayor’s appearance.

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