City Plans To Raise Water Bill Rates To Repair Infrastructure

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Soon you will likely have to pay more for your water bill now that the city is planning to raise rates.

Kelly McPherson explains how much and why the city says the increase is needed.

After a rate hike less than three years ago, there’s another increase likely to pass.

Baltimore City water is costing more. In part, it’s because of water main breaks.

It’s no secret Baltimore suffers from old infrastructure.  There have been 400 water main breaks this year.  In 2010, there were nearly 1,200.

The Department of Public Works says the city loses enough water to fill the Baltimore World Trade Center each day. It’s considering a 9 percent hike in the water rate.

“If you really looked at what we really need to meet the current needs, especially with the federal mandates out there, you’re talking 20 percent, 25 percent,” said Kurt Kocher, Department of Public Works.

The people paying for the water have an opinion.

“They already have enough trouble drawing people toward their city, making it that much more unlivable doesn’t seem that realistic,” said Greg Sutton, of Pigtown.

“The water and sewer should pay for itself through the fees that they levy to the users,” said Michael Young, of Federal Hill.

On top of repairing and preventing water main breaks, DPW has to update water storage facilities for Homeland Security mandates.

“It’s not a for-profit entity,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We have to use the income from the water bills to pay for the infrastructure improvements.”

This hike would cost about $90 per family of four.

“I love it here.  So, it’s worth it,” said Michael and Kim, Baltimore residents.

“Well, we’re not going to move out of the city based on that, but I would like for them to lower the taxes–if I could put a plug in there,” Kim added. “And then more people would move here and we could share the tax base.

The increase would just impact Baltimore City residents, even though some neighboring counties utilize city water.

There will be a public hearing before the hike officially passes held May 18.

  • Patti

    Why do we Baltimore City residents have to keep getting pounded with the increases? Why isn’t the money paid now for the sewer services being spent on the infrastructure? Baltimore City supplies Baltimore County residents with the same water and infrastructure and they have always paid much less. It’s not fair unless they raise the rates for everyone including the county. Baltimore City is does not care how much it taxes their residents, taxes them until they move to the county. This is sad because I have lived in Baltimore City all of my life. Baltimore County should share the same increase as the city, then it wouldn’t be $90.00 a year. When is the next increase…from 9% to what? Baltimore City is starting to sound alot like BGE?

  • Vicky

    When are baltimore county residents going to start paying their share of the water bill? Whether it is for actually water or infrastructure why do the residents of baltimore city have to pay the higher water bill and constant increases? Enough is a enough. By the way I have a 12 year water bill for the city because I had to purpose 5-gallon bottle drinking water (4 a month) due to dirty brown tap water. Call me Mayor Rawlings

    • johnsonj3

      I agree with you , WHY

  • Vicky

    correction for vicky purchase 5-gallon not purpose

  • Brian

    My goodness. My water bill already went from about $30 every 3 months to $105 every 3 months. I shower every other day. I HAVE DONE ALL I CAN DO TO CONSERVE. Please stop this Baltimore City. On top of high taxes, and the daily threat of being mugged or killed by unchecked thugs/kids. Cant forget I have a child with no where to send them to school when its time for kindergarten.

    Also why is 440 St. Mary St. allowed to be arrested, get out on bail, and still deal drugs out of her home. Too much effort I guess, raise my water bill instead.

    Orchard Mews apartments pay regular rent? No keep them on low rent and raise my water bill instead. Also keep it a safe unchecked drug dealer zone. Dont bother enforcing anything there.

    Guy at 7-11 buying a pizza with his independence card, cut his food allowance? No raise my water bill instead.

    Enough is enough.

    • S. Dunaway

      Balto. City made a deal with Balto, Co. Balto Co has Balto City’s sewage plant, so that is way Balto Co.’s water is cheaper. We’ll pay higher water bills if you take back the stench that we must smell daily.

    • Squaregrouper

      Brian- You have a significant leak somewhere. Check your toilets first– I would shut off the supply valve before work and check the reservoirs/tanks when you come home. If they aren’t still full your toilet(s) are leaking.

  • Harry Quade

    I found this on YouTube, its a protest vedio. some might find it funny, but some may suport the movement.

  • Harry Quade

    I know the water pipes need be up to date, but way is it comming out of our pockets? City give money and benifits to illegals, but can’t fix their own water pipes? Something wrong here.


    Where is the money that the government gave out for infrastructure repairs and jobs? Take some of the money being spent for the Races that are coming to downtown. maybe we should be looking at HOW our tax-dollars are being spent by whoever is in charge of such matters.

  • Deborah Williamson

    Baltimore City residents have already experienced a rate increase with Baltimore County not sharing that burden. Now another increase? Plus instead of a bill coming quarterly, it now comes again in less than 2 months. To add insult to insult, I’m paying the same amount for the shorter time frame. I do not do laundry @ home, no kids flushing the toilet all day & limit myself to 10 minute showers every other day. i buy my drinking water because what comes out of the faucet isn’t fit to drink. The amount on the shorter bill period was the same as the 3 month billing.

  • Debbie

    Brian, I agree with you. Cut out the fraud on those Independence cards. I see them everyday taking out the “cash option” money from the bank machine then buying cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. Monitor this system better and stop raising taxes.

    • money

      I agree with you. When you go to the supermarket they want to pay for your food. You pay them half of your bill in cash. I know a family on section 8 who rent is $1200 that the state pays. I have to work everyday to pay my mortgage. Can the state pay my mortgage it’s my tax money? The state gives them everything (rent, money, food stamps, medicare, cell phone) that’s why they don’t work. This is where the tax money is going.

  • sheriffwillie

    If they took all the welfare bunnies money back, cut spending & laid off a few thousand deadwood employees, Someone mentioned the Independence card thing in an earlier post & it’s true. A certain amount of waste will always be with us but the welfare & scammers are really starting to make a difference in the real $$$ that all families have to budget. I say set up drug test each month for these people on the dole. No show, No dough. Also make them work while they are on welfare by cleaning up the filthy neighborhoods they litter with their trash.

  • cms827

    I live in Anne Arundel County not far from city line and my water comes from the city and the rate we pay is astronmical. I cannot afford another increase. My water bill now runs about 150.00 every 3 months, when you have a family and have to wash clothes on a daily basis it really adds up.

  • money

    I was told the minimum every three months is $70.59. I never use the minimum (I live alone) but I have to pay for it anyway. Why aren’t we charged for what we use? My cousin in Balitmore county pay half of what I pay.



    • sheriff willie

      Peggy, Wasn’t meant to be funny & why is it wrong? When getting something for nothing , that attitude in these times has to change. These damm people need to learn self control & then Birth control. They breed!!

  • JOE


  • johnsonj3

    The county is dirty too, so what

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