Water Board Won't Raise Rates for FY 2018
On May 18, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) presented the NYC Water Board with its recommended approach to billing rates for the coming year. The DEP recommended that the board take no action on water rates. And at a public hearing on June 16th, the Water Board confirmed that water rates won’t be raised in Fiscal Year 2018.
The reason not to raise rates are that FY 2016 water and sewage rates were sufficient to fund the financial obligations in the board’s FY 2018 budget and not raising the rates would allow the board and DEP to preserve their rights in the pending appeal to the New York Court of Appeals in connection with the FY 2017 rate schedule. In May 2015, the Water Board had approved a 2.1 percent increase in water and sewer rates, marking the third time that prices have gone up since Mayor De Blasio started his term in 2014. The industry coalition sued the Water Board to prevent the rent hike. The lawsuit claimed that the agency illegally sidestepped state authorities in approving the rate hike and the price increase would unfairly burden large building owners since they are ineligible to get a one-time credit. The $183 bill credit was supposed to offset the price hike. However, it’s only for customers that own one- to three-family homes.
In her ruling, the lower court judge agreed that the Water Board had failed to demonstrate it had the authority to implement the rate increase and credit certain tenants and that it therefore had acted in an “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonableˮ manner.