THE BRONX - The management group for Co-op City is considering raising rent for the fourth consecutive year, upsetting most residents.

Vernon Cooper, of Riverbay Corporation management, said the company is working with New York's Department of Housing and Community Renewal to determine an appropriate and affordable rent increase. Rent has risen steadily since 2003, Cooper says, in part because of recent renovations. He says fuel costs rose from $27 million in 2004 to $42 million in 2006. New York City's recent 11.5 percent water rate hike also plays a large role, Cooper says.

Resident Margaret McKinney is upset by the potential increase.

"It's too much for what I receive in Social Security," she says. "Any increase is hard on me."

Rent hikes could range from $37 to $75 a month if passed.

State officials held a hearing in June for residents to voice their concerns. Riverbay Corporation says the decision could be made by the end of July and take effect as early as August.