As Public Advocate And Mayoral Candidate He Spoke Against Such Things, But Not Now

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Are water bills in New York City grossly inflated? Some say yes.

There is now a demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio honor a campaign promise to plug the leak in voters’ wallets, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

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Back on April 16, 2013, then-mayoral candidate de Blasio said the following:

“For decades, the water system only charged customers what it needed to cover its costs. But now, anyone who pays a water bill is sending more and more of their money into the city’s general budget. It’s wrong and it has to stop.”

And now he may have to eat those words, because unlike most campaign promises that are like money down the drain, this one floated the boat of Councilman Rory Lancman and his hard-hit constituents, who said they remembered de Blasio’s words and want him to make good.

“For years, we’ve had our pockets picked by a city that has been voracious in trying to raise revenue, fleeced to add money to the city’s general fund — far beyond what is really appropriate and called for,” said Lancman, a Democrat from Queens.

Lancman said the water rate has gone up an eye-popping 78 percent since 2005 — an extra $155 million added to the cost of running the water system for something called “water rent.”

Rosa Chung of Fresh Meadows said her monthly water bill has tripled, adding costs are going up so much she has to find other ways to get water.

“What I’ve been doing is using these barrels to catch the rainwater,” Chung said.

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As public advocate, de Blasio was all over the water issue.

“I got to tell you, it makes me very angry to think about a hardworking homeowner who’s doing everything right, playing by the rules, and then the city shows up with a huge additional bill,” de Blasio said back on April 19, 2012.

Kramer asked the mayor on Thursday if he would be able to reduce water rates.

“My goal is to reduce any charges that are not directly related to water,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to have to do that over time, as we deal with a lot of financial challenges, but it’s something I’m committed to doing over time,” the mayor said.

New rates will soon be set by the water board — the seven members appointed by the mayor.

Asked if he could at least assure residents they wouldn’t get an increase — as has happened every year for at least the last nine years – the mayor said, “We’ll have more to say when it’s time for the executive budget.”

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