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.


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