Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Eight Civics in Sea Cliff Water District Demand Rate Hike Hearing

Exasperated by skyrocketing bills from New York American Water, the Glen Head-Glenwood Civic Council has requested that the New York State Public Service Commission require a public hearing in the Glen Head-Glenwood area concerning New York American Water’s proposal for yet another rate increase.

In addition, the Civic Council and others recently appeared before the Town of Oyster Bay Zoning Board to oppose the design of a water tower that would replace the existing tower on Dumond Place in Glen Head.

“Outreach to the community regarding the size and appearance of the replacement tower has been practically non-existent,” Civic Council President George Pombar said. The Zoning Board adjourned the matter and urged New York American Water to meet with the community.

The Sea Cliff Water District, which includes much of Glen Head and Glenwood Landing, as well as the villages of Sea Cliff and Old Brookville, is one of three jurisdictions in Nassau County served by a private water company—New York American Water in all three cases. As a business, New York American Water is taxed on water district property. “The company passes on that cost to customers,” Mr. Pombar said. “If you live in the Sea Cliff Water District, about 55 percent of your water bill is actually tax.” Residents of areas served by public water pay no such tax because, in those jurisdictions, water district property is tax exempt.

“The taxing of water district property in areas served by a for-profit water company is just one of several questionable practices that are making Sea Cliff Water District bills soar,” Mr. Pombar said. “For example, New York American Water is proposing rate and surcharge increases that will increase water bills by as much as 138 percent for some customers. And, when the company files and wins tax grievances, the recovered tax is not returned to ratepayers.”

The Civic Council, along with community groups in other areas served by New York American Water, is calling upon state, county, and town representatives, as well as the Public Service Commission, to address the situation and make it more equitable.

Comments about the proposed rate increase (Case Number 16-W-0259) may be submitted to the Public Service Commission at http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Comments/PublicComments.aspx?MatterCaseNo=16-w-0259.

The Civic Council is an umbrella group of eight civic associations in Glen Head and Glenwood Landing. The Public Service Commission is the state entity that regulates water service.

Last week, residents of water districts served by New York American Water gathered outside the company’s office in Merrick to protest water bills that are at least three times higher than bills in other Nassau County water districts.

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