2008-04-04 / Top Stories

City:Dayton Beach Park Is Water Bill Ditcher

By Nicholas Briano

Dayton Beach Apartments Beach 84 Street complex needs to pay $325,000 in late water bills to New York City before May 18, or else they will be put into collection.
The Dayton Beach Park Apartments, visible in rows along Shore Front Parkway in Rockaway Beach, owes the city more than $1 million in overdue water bill payments, dating back two years, according to a spokesperson for the city's Department of Environmental Protection.

The city says that the cooperative's management must pay up by May or its overdue bills will be put into collection and the liens sold to a private collection agency. That could, the city says, result in the residents losing all of their water services.

Two of the buildings in the Dayton Beach Park complex are overdue. The Beach 84 Street building owes $325,000, which may seem like mere pittance compared with the $831,000 that is owed by the building at Beach 81 Street.

Some residents, who spoke with The Wave but who asked for anonymity because they fear retaliation from management, say they aren't responsible for the water bills, and as a result they aren't worried by the threat to turn off their water should the liens not be paid.

The same fate is in store for the Beach 81 Street Apartments, whose $831,000 balance pushes the Dayton Beach Apartments' debt to over $1 million.
They say it's a problem for management, because water is included in the maintenance fee they fork over each month. In addition, no one can figure out where the money that should have gone to paying water bills actually went.

The local properties are on a long list of city-wide properties that have been delinquent in their payments for several years. DEP estimates that the 100 biggest debtors must come up with a combined $19 million in order to clear their names and avoid having their accounts turned over to banks and collection agencies at an 18 percent interest rate, doubled from what the city is currently charging.

The DEP however, has taken an alternate approach in an effort to avoid collections. DEP spokeswoman, Mercedes Padilla, encourages people to sign up and take the opportunity to catch up on their payments.

"The Payment Incentive Plan is still open to the public," she said.

Provisions under the Payment Incentive Plan include a one-time initiative designed to help residential homeowners settle past-due water and sewer charges.

Under the program, DEP will eliminate the late payment charges of any eligible customer who agrees to immediately settle his or her water bill in full. Some customers can even be offered a reduced utility charge. Residents have until May 19 to make a choice. DEP says it will hold the lien sale on that day and accounts will immediately be turned over to collections.

The Dayton Beach Park Property Manager, Tracy Wright, has not returned any calls to The Wave for more than a week.

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