NYC restaurants get a break on overdue water bills

Businesses that pay all of their delinquent charges will have the interest forgiven.
Authorities intend to crack down on nonpayers once the amnesty ends. / Photo: Shutterstock

New York City is giving a break to local restaurants with overdue water bills: Pay off the principle by April 30 and the interest due will be waived.

Places that owe more than $1,000 in unpaid charges will be rewarded for whatever they choose to pay. If they don’t remit all of the unpaid amount, their interest fees will be adjusted accordingly.

Establishments that pay at least 50% of their original charges will have 75% of the interest forgiven. Places that cover 25% of their monthly fees will get a 50% reduction in the interest that’s due.

Roughly 1 in 4 businesses and residences in the city are behind in their water payments, according to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, or DEP, the civic agency that oversees the pipelines. Collectively, they owe about $1.2 billion.

 The DEP estimates that the qualified amnesty will save New York residents and businesses about $150 million. But officials also expect to collect sufficient funds to keep the city’s water supply flowing.

The city has allowed businesses and residents to slide on their water payments because of the financial wallop many were given by the pandemic. But that leniency will end with the conclusion of the amnesty period, city officials stressed.

“This program allows customers to save money and start fresh in the new year,”  DEP Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala said in a statement. “At the same time, it should serve as a reminder to those who have chronically delinquent accounts and have been withholding payment — that won’t be allowed to continue.” 

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