THE BRONX - Bronx homeowners and businesses could see an increase in their water bills come January.

It will be the second time the New York City Water Board has raised prices since July. The city says rates are up because of an accumulation of unpaid bills over the years.

The city says bills could be up by as much as 18 percent. Residents say costly bills will hurt Bronx residents operating on fixed incomes.

In order to alleviate some of the costs, the EPA and City Councilmember James Vacca have introduced a program to allow residents who have not paid their water bills to make one-time payments without late charges or fees.

A public hearing will be held on the increases at Lehman College Dec. 13.

Related Information:Public Hearing Thursday, December 13, 2007, 9:00 a.m.Herbert H. Lehman CollegeCarman Hall, Room B34 290 Bedford Park Boulevard West Bronx, NY 10468