Residents in the Merrick, Lynbrook and Sea Cliff water districts found a letter from New York American Water in their mailboxes during the final week of October, and it was not a water bill. It was a rate increase notice, signed off on by the New York Public Service Commission.
NYAW said in the letter that it needed additional revenue to cover production costs and property taxes that it pays. According to the letter, Lynbrook residents will see the biggest increase — a 6.47 percent hike — while those in the Merrick district will be hit by a 5.57 percent increase, and the Sea Cliff district will see a 4.78 percent spike. The increases took effect on Nov. 1.
In dollars, residents in the Merrick district using 8,000 gallons a month would see their bills increase by a couple of dollars, but households using 15,000 gallons a month would see their bills increase by almost $5.
State Sen. John Brooks, a Democrat from Seaford, recently sent a letter to the PSC requesting NYAW’s tax payments from the past three years to confirm that its rates are “driven by property taxes,” he said, and information about the company’s profit margin and what it’s based on. Additionally, he plans to file legislation in January “for a benefit analysis” that would assess if the Suffolk County Water Authority could take over Nassau’s three NYAW districts.
“I’ve kind of run out of patience with them,” Brooks said. “I believe their rates are way out of line . . . and their service isn’t anything close to outstanding.”