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City announces 3.35% water rate hike

By Alex Robinson

The city Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday a proposed water rate hike of 3.35 percent for fiscal year 2015, much to the chagrin of City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows).

The councilman called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to freeze water rates last month, contending a large chunk of fees goes to the city’s general budget rather than to water infrastructure and operating costs.

“The proposed rate increase only means that we will continue to be gouged through a dishonest and deliberately opaque water rate system,” Lancman said.

In recent years, the rent charged to the Water Board exceeded the amount necessary to pay for the city’s water service, meaning the city had revenue left over which it pumped into its general budget, a practice de Blasio criticized when he was city public advocate.

DEP said the proposed hike, the lowest since 2006, was a result of internal cost-cutting and redirecting part of the city’s rental payment.

But Lancman argued the hike meant New Yorkers will still pay more than their fair share.

The proposal also includes freezing minimum rates for those who use less than 100 gallons per day to $1.27 per day.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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