By Gina Martinez
Over 23,000 homeowners in Queens will receive a $115 credit on their next water and sewer bill, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor announced that more than 53,000 low-income homeowners across the city are set to receive an automatic $115 credit on their next water and sewer bill and that the New York City Water Board has authorized the extension of the credit to 12,000 additional senior citizens in 2018.
The Water Board has approved a new $250 per residential unit credit, set to begin next year, for multi-family buildings that meet certain affordability, conservation and performance criteria. According to the mayor, the new Multifamily Affordable Housing Credit will provide a total of $10 million in assistance to properties, serving as many as 40,000 units, while helping to incentivize affordability.
“We are putting water rate relief directly into the hands of low-income homeowners and senior citizens across the city,” de Blasio said last Friday. “Maintaining reasonable water and sewer rates is a key piece of the affordability puzzle for hardworking New York families.”
The Home Water Assistance Program provided the first annual credit to 12,500 low-income homeowners who qualified for the federal Home Energy Assistance Program in 2015. Last year, the program expanded to include low-income senior and disabled homeowners who receive a DOF property tax exemption. Beginning in 2018, the program will reach senior citizens with a combined annual income of less than $50,000.
The Department of Environmental Protection partnered with the Human Resources Administration to identify qualified residents eligible to receive a HEAP benefit, along with the city’s Department of Finance to identify customers with property tax exemptions, as well as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Housing Development Corporation to identify eligible multi-family buildings that conserve water and enter into an agreement to keep rents affordable.
In addition to the 23,149 homeowners in Queens, the $115 credit will appear on the next water and sewer bill for 4,717 homeowners in the Bronx, 16,659 homeowners in Brooklyn, 101 homeowners in Manhattan and 8,451 homeowners in Staten Island.
“In New York City we know that every drop of water counts, but we also know that every dollar counts,” DEP Acting Commissioner Sapienza said. “Over the last few years tens of thousands of low-income residents have benefitted from the Home Water Assistance Program and we are thrilled to now expand it to even more of our senior customers, while still keeping water and sewer rates affordable for all New Yorkers.”
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said this year’s credit to 53,000 low-income homeowners is a welcome reprieve.
“Water and sewer bill increases are a frustrating fact of life for New Yorkers,” Koo said. “Many thanks to the DEP for listening to the needs of its constituents and working to provide relief to seniors, low-income families.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart