White Plains Commissioner of Public Works Richard Hope is seeking to increase water rates by 3.9 percent.
Hope discussed his proposal at the Oct. 28 special meeting of the Common Council.
Hope said he is asking for a 3.9 percent water rate increase “across the board” including the sewer charge. For the average family of four the additional annual cost for the year would be $20, he said. “That could easily be offset by a few conservation measures,” he added. Such measures could include installing low flow showerheads, taking shorter showers and repairing a leaky toilet, which could save $1,000 in a year, he said.
“This is the lowest rate increase in 14 years,” Hope said. “White Plains will continue to have the lowest rate in the county.” The low rate increase is being proposed even though New York City has raised the rate for water use by municipalities by 9.2 percent, he said.
The water rate increase would raise about $732,000 in new revenue in the water fund annually, Hope said.
Hope said he is asking for the rate increase to pay the debt service for borrowing for existing and new debt for capital projects to protect the city’s water and to pay for the New York City DEP’s 9.2 percent hike in July. Additional DEP increases are expected in the future, he said.
Councilwoman Nadine Hunt-Robinson said capital water projects were approved by the Common Council to avoid some of the charges from New York City. Hope said White Plains is planning to construct a water treatment plant to allow the city to use reservoir water for drinking in the next year or so. “When that plant comes on line,” the excess water charge paid to New York City would be greatly reduced, he said. The excess usage fee is based on water use above the average usage in New York City, he said.
The new water rates would need to be approved by the Common Council.