Photo by david.dames/ Flickr

City gives homeowners $115 water bill credit months after losing rate hike lawsuit

After losing a lawsuit to raise water rates, the de Blasio administration is moving forward with a plan to give a $115 bill credit to New York City homeowners. The figure is lower than the $183 credit that the city planned to give homeowners to offset a 2.1 percent water rate hike.

Photo by david.dames/ Flickr

Photo by david.dames/ Flickr

According to an announcement from the Mayor’s Office, more than 53,000 low-income homeowners will receive the water and sewer bill credit. The city’s Water Board also extended the credit to 12,000 senior citizens for the 2018 fiscal year. Queens residents will benefit most from the program. The borough has the most number of eligible customers at 23,149, followed by Brooklyn (16,659), Staten Island (8,451), the Bronx (4,717) and Manhattan (101).

“We are putting water rate relief directly into the hands of low-income homeowners and senior citizens across the city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Maintaining reasonable water and sewer rates is a key piece of the affordability puzzle for hard-working New York families.”

In May of 2016, the Water Board approved a water rate increase, marking the third time that the agency approved a rate hike since de Blasio took office. The city planned to implement the rate increase with a $183 bill credit for owners of one to three family homes. The Mayor’s Office said that the bill credit was enough to offset the burden on customers since 80 percent (664,000) of homeowners are eligible.

Landlords group Rent Stabilization Association, which sued the city along with building owners Prometheus Realty, Portofino Realty and Tuscan Realty, called the plan a “re-election ploy” that placed the financial burden on landlords. RSA won rulings in both the state Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.

Aside from the water bill credit, the city is also giving a new endowment to multifamily properties that meet affordability and conservation standards. The program, called the Multifamily Affordable Housing Credit, will provide a $250 credit for every residential unit. The Water Board has allocated $10 million in funding for 40,000 units.

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