City approves 14.5 percent water rate hike

Amid objections
May 16, 2008 2:55:24 PM PDT
The city's Water Board this morning approved the proposed 14.5 percent water rate hike -- amid objections from the majority of City Council members. The board, all appointed by the Bloomberg administration, unanimously approved the hike, which goes into affect July 1 for next fiscal year. The hike costs the average one-family household another $102 a year, bringing their annual tab to $801.

Six of the board's seven members approved the hike, with the seventh member absent. The members echoed Mayor Bloomberg's belief that the city needs the rate hike to balance the budget.

A majority of City Council members, some who attended the meeting, said the rate hike could be limited to 5.5 percent if the administration didn't force the Water Board to make rent payments, which are based on the size of its growing debt load.

Members of the Water Board members said they pressed the Bloomberg administration for changes in the rental payment system.

Board Chairman James Tripp, who has long been calling for a change in the residual rental setup, said he had pressed hard for a change in time to affect this year's rate vote.

Tripp said he contemplated resigning out of frustration, but changed his mind after getting assurances from the Bloomberg administration that a study and revamping of the rate structure will be conducted in time for next year's rate adjustment, to avoid another projected 14.5 percent hike.