GREENBURGH, N.Y. A neighborhood group in Edgemont is calling on the Greenburgh Town Board to delay approving any proposed water rate increases until a long range plan detailing how millions of dollars in debt and anticipated capital improvements will be dealt with.
The Edgemont Community Council officially passed a resolution this week saying if the town planned ahead for these issues, instead of "just dealing with them in an ad hoc politically driven fashion," the water district's 45,500 residents would be able to better budget for the hikes, which last year totaled 72 percent and this year is projected to jump an additional 24 percent for most customers.
"Town officials are putting politics and their fear of being personally criticized for continued mismanagement ahead of running the water department in an efficient and transparent manner," the council stated on its Facebook.
Greenburgh Commissioner of Public Works Victor Carosi said this year's budget only includes $18,000 for an interest payment on the water district's debt, which he maintained hasn't been calculated yet but reportedly stands at about $4 million.
As for capital improvements, including the replacement of water meters that Carosi projected could cost between $4 and $4.25 million, Carosi said the town board has already allocated about half that amount.
"We're looking at ways to finance it," Carosi said of the water meters. "There are options we're still evaluating."
Carosi also said he doesn't agree putting off increasing the water rate hikes since the town has no choice but to pay the higher costs charged to them by New York City.
"The expenses that we have are increasing each day and must be addressed," he said. "I do respect the fact this isn't going to be easy for some people, but increasing the water rates is timely at this point. To me, the sooner the better."
If approved, the new rates would cost the average customer about $70 more annually in the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District.
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