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Amnesty Program for Unpaid Water Bills Extended to May 31

New York City

Unpaid water bills, amnesty program, benchmarking of water and energy usage, co-op and condo boards.
May 2, 2023

The city’s water-bill amnesty program designed to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars is being extended another month – after reaping a fraction of what’s owed, The New York Post reports

Mayor Eric Adams has announced that the amnesty program — which has collected $80 million of the $1.2 billion outstanding from customers since January — will now have a May 31 end date. After that, delinquent customers could face shutoffs of city water.

“[Y]ou don’t have to pay your bill all at once," Adams said at a City Hall press conference. "If you can’t, for whatever reason, we could put you on a payment plan. But if you refuse to do so, we have to take stronger steps. Because if we don’t, it’s going to fall on the backs of your fellow New Yorkers."

The amnesty program permits the waiver of interest payments up to 100% if a bill is paid in full; 75% if half the bill is covered, and 50% if a quarter is paid off.

The extension of the water-bill amnesty program comes as another deadline approaches. By May 1, owners of larger buildings, including co-op and condo boards, must submit benchmarking data on their water and energy usage during calendar 2022. That information is the basis of each building's Energy Star score, which in turn is translated into the building's energy-efficiency letter grade. Those letter grades do not reflect a building's carbon emissions, which must be reduced to prescribed levels beginning in 2024 under Local Law 97

Water bills aren't the only things that are not getting paid in cash-strapped New York City. In related news, city's Independent Budget Office (IBO) reports that the city has failed to collect a total of $2.1 billion in fines over the past six years (2017-2022). The city agency with the biggest pile of unpaid fines is the DOB, at $627 million, followed distantly by the Department of Sanitation, at $77 million.

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