January 2, 2014

Bronx Homeowners and Renters Will Pay for Cost Overruns at Filtration Plant


The Norwood News has just published another troubling article about the cost and time overruns at the filtration plant. Another Year, Another Setback for the Croton Water Filtration Plant is an unwelcome reminder about the link between the affordability crisis in the Bronx and rising operating costs – especially the cost of water.

While people are trying to figure out how to deal with affordability issues in New York City, the cost of water has been a major factor in rising operating costs.  The first UNHP affordable housing renovation project was underwritten with estimated water costs of $85 per apartment per year.  Currently, the capped water rate for apartment buildings that qualify for the Multifamily Conservation Program is $977 per apartment per year.

The cost of water is impacted by construction cost overruns and delays in water construction projects like the Croton Water Filtration Plant.  The article says the project is currently $2 billion over budget and strongly suggests that this number will rise.

Since all water costs must be absorbed by ratepayers, the cost of water is affecting property owners and renters alike—owners paying the higher rates directly, tenants via higher rent increases approved by the Rent Guidelines Board. The next rate increase will be determined by the Water Board (the members of which are appointed by the Mayor) in the spring and will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

Thank you to the Norwood News, who has been diligently following the filtration plant story since its beginnings; tracking local and widespread oppositioncontractor fraudbudget overruns and political regret.  UNHP has also been active since 1988 in our fight to reform water and sewer rates due to their impact on housing affordability. In addition to our work to fight ever increasing water and sewer rates, UNHP provides assistance to homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes due to unpaid water bills.  Homeowners can contact UNHP at (718) 933-2539 to schedule an appointment with a foreclosure prevention counselor.  If you are interested in learning more about how to fight rising water and sewer costs contact us at mail@unhp.org.