Bay Ridge

De Blasio proposes $183 tax credit on water bill

Says reduction is aimed at 664,000 homeowners

April 26, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio chats with Bay Ridge residents Maia and Gary Elfont prior to the press conference on Monday. Photo by Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office
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Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Bay Ridge on Monday, proposed a one-time $183 credit that he wants 664,000 homeowners to find in their water bills this summer, and said it was part of an effort by his administration to “right a wrong.”

Standing in front of a private home on 79th Street between Narrows Avenue and Colonial Road, de Blasio said the credit proposal is the result of a decision by his administration to no longer request rental payments from the New York City Water Board.

The Water Board has been paying a rental fee to the city each year since 1985. Technically speaking, the fee is charged to the Water Board for leasing the city’s water and sewer systems. The fee has always been passed along to homeowners.

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The mayor has the authority to decline to request the rental fee, but the Water Board would have to approve the $183 water bill credit.

The $183 credit will be applied to all one-, two- and three-family homes across the city, including 204,756 homes in Brooklyn.

“Today we are here to right a wrong,” de Blasio said at the press conference on Monday. “This is an issue I’ve worked on for years, dating back to my time as public advocate,” he said.

“For decades the city has been using the water bill as a cash cow for the general treasury. That’s not right. The water bill should be for one thing and one thing only — the cost of water,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said that from now on, the money from the water bills residents pay will be dedicated solely to the operation, maintenance and expansion of the water and sewer system.

 “This is truly an historic day,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd.

A Bay Ridge couple, Maia and Gary Elfont, who live on 79th Street, attended the press conference and praised de Blasio’s proposal.

Maia Elfont said the bill credit will help homeowners like her and her husband. “We understand the challenges of raising a family,” she said.

The $183 credit would represent a 17 percent savings on the annual water bill for a typical single-family homeowner, according to de Blasio.

Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who represents Bay Ridge, said his constituents will be able to feel the difference in their water bill this summer. “This, for my constituents is a wallet issue,” he said. “When it comes to water rates, there has always been a feeling that they are unfair.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said the water bill credit will come in handy to Brooklyn residents. The $183 in savings is equivalent to a monthly Metrocard, he said. “This is a bread and butter issue,” he said, adding that “the leaky faucet for revenue needed to be fixed.”


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