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Water Bills Suspended For Some NYC Hurricane Sandy Victims

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Some of the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Sandy are getting a break.

New York City is temporarily suspending water bills for customers whose properties were severely damaged by the storm.

Properties that had been deemed beyond repair by the Department of Buildings will not have to make a monthly payment until June 2013, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.

Fees for water service lines that had to be disconnected because of the hurricane will be waived, as will interest accruals on delinquent accounts and collection actions for affected properties, including automated calls and delinquency mailings, until June 1, 2013.

The Department will also review all affected accounts to ensure that they are accurately billed for use and will automatically remove charges associated for leaks caused by storm damage.

"For those faced with the hard work of rebuilding after the storm, we are doing all that we can to provide assistance and relief," said Bloomberg. "By deferring water bill payments and other charges, New Yorkers can focus their attention and money on more immediate and pressing needs."

"With so many properties damaged by Sandy, we want to be sure people only pay for the water they use and not be held responsible for leaks caused by the storm," said Commissioner Strickland. "After the storm, the Automated Meter Reading program we invested in allowed us to see which customers needed our help and we will carefully review accounts so New Yorkers hardest hit by Sandy get an accurate bill and are not burdened by estimated charges."

The City has also proposed to reimburse homeowners for a portion of the taxes paid this fiscal year.

The measure requires State approval and if enacted, more than 900 properties would be eligible, with an average rebate of $794.

The Finance Department said it is also working to ensure that the property tax assessments for Fiscal Year 2014 reflect the post-hurricane conditions.

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