FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 18-39
April 27, 2018
Department of Environmental Protection Proposes Fiscal Year 2019 Water Rate
2.36% proposed increase would fund critical drinking water and wastewater projects as part of DEP’s Fiscal Year 2019 ten-year capital budget of $19.1 billion
Typical customer would see a monthly increase of $1.35–$2.17; As many as 65,000 low-income, senior, and disabled customers to receive financial assistance
Minimum charge to be frozen for the fifth consecutive year at $1.27 per day, resulting in roughly 25% of all single-family homeowners, many of whom are seniors, seeing no rate increase
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today proposed a 2.36% increase in the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) water rate to the New York City Water Board. The proposal, if approved by the Water Board, would represent the first rate change since Fiscal Year 2016. The proposal maintains existing affordability programs for low-income homeowners and multi-family housing properties that are expected to benefit as many as 65,000 customers and 40,000 units, respectively. In addition, the proposal recommends freezing the minimum charge at $1.27 per day for the fifth consecutive year for those customers who use fewer than 95 gallons per day.
“Thanks in large part to Mayor de Blasio’s historic decision to forego a rental payment from the water system, in addition to effective management of DEP’s operations and the system’s balance sheet, we are able to fully fund the City’s critical drinking water and wastewater systems while keeping the cost of water in New York City below the national average,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “In addition, we are extending savings to as many as 65,000 low-income, senior, and disabled customers, as well as providing bill credits to keep up to 40,000 multi-family housing units affordable.”
WHAT THE PROPOSED RATE WOULD MEAN FOR AN AVERAGE CUSTOMER
If the 2.36% water rate increase is adopted by the Board:
- A typical single-family homeowner will see an increase from $1,055/year to $1,081/year for water and sewer bills – an increase of $2.17/month (based on an average consumption of 80,000 gallons of water per year).
- A typical multi-family unit with metered billing will see an increase from $686/year/unit to $702/year/unit – an increase of $1.35/month (based on an average consumption of 52,000 gallons of water per year).
CONTINUING EMPHASIS ON AFFORDABILITY
DEP is focused on maintaining a package of rates and billing policies that keep rates at a reasonable level for customers facing affordability challenges. A number of billing policies emphasizing rate affordability are expected to be reauthorized for FY19:
- The Home Water Assistance Program provides a bill credit of $115 to 65,000 low-income households. Income verification is performed by other governmental agencies, and eligible property lists are provided to DEP and the Water Board – customers do not need to apply or take other action to receive the credit. The program was first introduced for FY 2015, and is expected to be reauthorized for FY19.
- The Multifamily Water Assistance Program provides a bill credit of $250 per affordable residential unit to up to 40,000 units located in multifamily properties with at least fifteen years remaining on a rental affordability agreement with either the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development or the NYC Housing Development Corporation. The program was first implemented for FY18, and is expected to be reauthorized for FY19. One program modification is expected in FY19, which would involve allocating credits to applicants based on a ranking that assigns preference to the most affordable units, based on area median income, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Freezing the minimum charge. Customers who use less than 95 gallons per day are billed at the minimum water charge of $1.27 per day, including wastewater charges. DEP proposes to freeze the minimum charge for the fifth consecutive year at the FY 2014 rate, benefitting many single family homeowners, including many seniors citizens. For customers billed based on the minimum charge, the annual water and sewer bill is $464 per year.
In addition, Mayor de Blasio is not requesting a Rental Payment from the water system for FY19.
NYC WATER RATES ARE BELOW THE AVERAGE OF LARGE U.S. CITIES
While other costs in NYC are higher for residents, water rates are below the average for the thirty largest U.S. cities, and NYC’s relative affordability compared to the thirty largest cities continues to improve, based on 2017 cost data.
The Water Board is responsible for considering and adopting water and wastewater rates following the proposal and subsequent public hearings. The New York City Water Board has scheduled five public hearings for the upcoming FY19 water rate proposal:
Monday, May 21 at 7pm
St. Francis College, Founders Hall
180 Remsen Street
Tuesday, May 22 at 7pm
John F. Kennedy, Jr. School (P721Q)
57-12 94th Street
Tuesday, May 29 at 7pm
Hostos Community College, Savoy Building, 2nd Floor
120 East 149th Street
Wednesday, May 30 at 7pm
Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center
1466 Manor Road
Thursday, May 31 at 10am
22 Reade Street
Spector Hall, 1st Floor
Information on the hearings can also be found by visiting nyc.gov/waterboard. Following the five public hearings, the Water Board will consider and vote on the FY19 rates on June 1, 2018, and the new rates will become effective on July 1, 2018.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $19.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.