Sandy victims hit with water bills - New York News

Sandy victims hit with water bills

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-NY) and other Staten Island officials are calling on the city to waive water fees for Sandy survivors who have used little or no water in their damaged homes.

The city has sent homeowners bills to their damaged homes even if the home used no water during a billing period.

The homeowners are subject to a minimum charge from the city of $1.19 per day.

The city's Department of Environmental Protection says accounts for storm damaged homes are reviewed before a bill is issued.

"First I was frustrated and now I'm angry," said Rep. Grimm. "People are at their wit's end. Those displaced by Sandy simply want to get back in their homes and back to their lives, but every day they tell me about another obstacle, delay, or fee. Just because someone's home wasn't completely swept away or demolished, doesn't mean they can live in it. It also doesn't mean they should have to pay these ludicrous water fees. The policy should be that if you're not in your home because of Sandy, then all fees will be waived until you move back in."

Some residents say the charges just add insult to injury.

"We pay our taxes and we're sick and tired of getting dumped on," Rosemary Vapkens says.  "To go and receive a bill like this for water that I can't even use? I can't even enter my home and we have to pay a water bill? It does start to make you you're your mind," said one homeowner.

This all comes at a time when Staten Islanders are waiting in limbo - whether it be for buyouts, flood maps, or more federal assistance. Grimm is calling on the city to waive the fees until homeowners get back in their homes.

The DEP says since Hurricane Sandy, its waived more than half-a-million dollars worth of bills. 

Homeowners say they're still struggling and instead of getting a helping hand in their recovery, they're getting a smack in the face.

"It's just very frustrating, it really is. I don't know when it's going to stop," added homeowner Stephanie Argento.

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