NYC: one billion dollars in unpaid water bills

The city is sounding the alarm over one billion dollars in unpaid water bills.

Despite the overdue bills, building owners are sounding their own alarm saying if you think one billion in overdue water bills is big just wait until real estate taxes are due this summer, they don't have money for that either.  

Call it the pandemic effect.  Joe Strasburg is the President of the Rent Stabilization Association. "For the last three years owners are probably in the hole for over 20 billion dollars in unpaid rent."

And as a result, many building owners say they have a cashflow problem and are unable to pay their bills to the city including water and sewer.

 Strasburg’s organization represents 25,000 building owners. 

"You have small buildings, 24 units or less that are spending 40 to 60 thousand dollars a year just on water and sewer."

 At a City Council budget hearing this week, Rohit Aggarwala the Commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Protection saying time is running out on a city amnesty program launched last month.  It expires the end of April. 

Building owners can save up to 100 percent of interest if they pay all or part of their overdue water bills.

"This is not just an issue among single family homeowners or low-income neighborhoods.  About a thousand buildings south of 96th street in Manhattan are delinquent."

Strasburg says there is another crisis coming down road for the city.

"I think you're going to see a real problem in June, July where owners have fallen behind with their lending institutions.  They don't have money to pay their real estate taxes."