NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to continue fighting for a water bill credit for hundreds of thousands of families.
The mayor had arranged for a $183 reimbursement for a rental fee on water bills. The landlord lobby — the Rent Stabilization Association — said the reimbursement was taking money out of their pockets. The RSA sued and won.READ MORE: 'Moulin Rouge! The Musical' Wins Big As Broadway Celebrates The 74th Annual Tony Awards
De Blasio said the city will be appealing the decision.
“We’re going to stand up for 600,000 homeowners who are having this money taken right out of their pocket by the landlord lobby,” told WCBS-880’s Steve Scott. “We deserve fairness on this.”
The mayor called the fee a hidden tax that was being spent on things other than water.
“I said it was time to end that, and in fact to give people money back, to give them a $183 water bill credit. Every one of those 600,000 families was going to get that credit this summer, until the landlord lobby stepped in and filed a lawsuit,” the mayor said.
De Blasio told Scott he was confident that the city would win the reimbursement appeal.
Bronx Tragedy Remains A Mystery
Mayor de Blasio visited the home of two little girls who were killed in a Bronx radiator accident on Wednesday, he said the cause for the accident remains a mystery.
“These were obviously very loving parents. From everything we can tell so far this was just a horrible freak accident,” he said, “From what we can tell so far, something very unusual happened with the valve on this radiator.”
The mayor said even experts were puzzled as to how it happened, but doubted that there was any connection between the accident and the fact that the girls were living in housing for homeless families.
“From what we know today, I was in the apartment, I can tell you I saw no unsafe or unsanitary conditions,” he said.
De Blasio said housing inspectors had been through the building, and did not find anything out-of-order, but that the public would be informed when something is discovered.READ MORE: Police Seize 7 Vans Allegedly Used As Airbnb Rentals In Manhattan
Pressed on the issue of dealing with New York’s homeless population, the mayor said some 10,000 people had been successfully kept out of shelters.
“We feel like we’ve stopped the worst from happening,” the mayor said.
He said the plan now was to work to find housing for those who still need it.
The mayor touched on a plan to help families pay rent so they can take in loved ones who would otherwise be on the streets or in a shelter, and lauded a policy that gave lawyers to low-income renters to help them fight eviction.
De Blasio said fighting homelessness has been a challenge as housing prices climb faster than incomes.
Paying To Protect The President
The mayor and other New York officials have been critical of Congress and plan to continue fighting for the $35-million requested to cover security costs for President-elect Donald Trump.
Congress has allocated $7-million.
Peter King (R-LI) and other Republican Congressmen have said the city was late putting in a request for funding.
“We did everything that was asked from us in terms of providing information, we sent officials the NYPD to Washington. Obviously from the very beginning, from the night of Nov 8 it was clear there were extraordinary security costs being associated with Trump Tower,” de Blasio said, “We were very clear that we were asking for reimbursement.”
The mayor said he believes the Trump team will be sympathetic and won’t force the city to cover the costs.MORE NEWS: Woman Accused Of Telling Black Couple At Brooklyn Dog Park, 'Stay In Your Hood'
De Blasio said Pope Francis’ visit had set a precedent for high level reimbursement, and once in office President Trump will believe it is the right thing to do.