The New York City Water Board approved a rate hike on Friday, meaning that New Yorkers will be paying an average of $62 more a year starting in July.
The 5.6-percent increase was recommended by Carter Strickland, commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, who said it needs the money to maintain services.
“For the water we consume, for the water we wash with, for the water we use to flush our toilets, and also the responsible disposal of that water, the environmentally acceptable way to dispose of that water, it’s maybe $1, a little over $1 a day, something like that, for each of us,” said Alan Ross, chairman of the Water Board.
Critics pointed to the increase in bills over the last five years as proof that New Yorkers should not have to pay more. The increase makes Michael Bloomberg the first mayor in at least 35 years to raise the price of tap water every year of his administration.
The Bloomberg administration peddled the proposal, the mayor’s final one after 12 years in office, as the lowest rate hike in eight years. But records indicate that every mayor since Ed Koch took office in 1977 kept the water rate flat for at least one year during their terms.