NYC Proposes 3.35% Increase in Water Rate

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration recently proposed a 3.35 percent increase in New York City’s water and sewer rates. It’s the lowest such increase since fiscal 2006, but officials acknowledged the recommendation doesn’t fully address what the mayor previously denounced as a “hidden tax.”

In spring 2013, when de Blasio was a Democratic candidate for mayor and the city’s public advocate, he criticized then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed 5.6 percent water-rate increase, accusing the administration of overcharging rate payers to pad the city’s general operating budget.

The Bloomberg administration raised prices each year, including four consecutive double-digit boosts beginning in fiscal 2008. Records showed the three previous mayors kept the water rate flat for at least one year during their tenures. During Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure, the water rate rose 165 percent. The Bloomberg administration had cited the rising costs of maintaining an aging system of aqueducts that carry a billion gallons of water to the city every day, and expensive projects mandated by the federal government.

According to the city, a typical multifamily home with metered billing would see an increase from $645 a year per unit to $666 a year per unit, less than $2 a month. The new rate would take effect July 1.