By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Baltimore’s Board of Estimates approved a water and sewer rate hike Wednesday. The news may come as a shock to homeowners who already believe they’re paying too much.

Pat Warren has more on the decision.

WJZ told people about the city’s new increase.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” one resident responded.

The Board of Estimates has approved a 9 percent rate hike, which means the average household could see an increase of around $88 a year.

“At a time when gas prices are this high and people are struggling and especially small businesses, I don’t know how they can conceivably increase anything,” said Greg Catramados, Baltimore City resident.

This has long been the city’s answer to complaints about the sewer and water rate increases. Look at the number of water main breaks caused by an aging infrastructure.

But according to the Department of Public Works, Wednesday’s decision is required to meet the state and federal regulatory mandates and homeland security needs in addition to infrastructure replacement costs.

The city Board of Estimates approved the increase Wednesday morning, although the city comptroller thinks it may be unfair.

“There are billings that have not been read in years,” said Joan Pratt, city comptroller. “In newly constructed homes, the dwellers have not received bills. I just believe that those of us who are paying those bills are subsidizing those who have not received water bills. As I said, personally, I’m one household dweller and I’ve received two billings that have totaled over $800. It’s impossible for one person to have two water bills that total over $800.”

The Board of Estimates heard complaints from residents too who say they have never had actual meter readings, only estimates.

“My position is, we need to stop that estimator stuff,” said Daniel Lief, Baltimore City resident. “If you don’t know what the bill is, then don’t charge me anything.”

But the Board of Estimates has the final say on the matter.  It’s not clear yet when the increase will show up on the bill, but it could take effect immediately.

The increase applies to Baltimore City and surrounding county residents who use the city water system.

Comments (30)
  1. Joe says:

    Please raise the water rates! I feel like water is so cheap that it doesn’t encourage anyone to conserve and respect this limited resource. My biil is less than $30 every 2-3 months. I have lo flow toilets and showers and take water conservation seriously. I wish more people would.

    1. WhatIsThis says:

      I didn’t know Spring Grove let their patients use the computer!!!! What is this guy talking about???

      1. Kurt says:

        He must be the guy that just escaped. I saw it on the news last night. I hate all of these rate increases however this may actually be one that is justified. The infrastructure is in dire need of repair.

    2. Hey Moron... says:

      Conservation is not the answer to our growing “Water Shortage”. Think about it. There is just as much water on the Earth now, as there was 10 million years ago. It is not “draining into space” somehow.
      The shortage that you keep hearing about is with regard to “clean water”.
      The same politicians that are jacking up the rates for water and sewage treatment, are letting huge refineries and factories spew their waste materials into the rivers, bays, oceans, and skies. They take “kick-backs”, accept extravagant gifts, vacations, and cash donations to their personal accounts in exchange for “turning a blind eye” to the continual decimation occurring with our ecology.
      So, flush your low-flow toilet less often, and take speedy showers. While you are at it, place your genitals on the pavement for the politicians to walk on.
      For those who truly wish to solve the problem; the first step is to understand it. Our clean water is growing more scarse in direct proportion to a rise in political corruption. This is not a problem that can be solved with a flow-restrictor.

      1. M says:

        Thank you! finally a person with sense

  2. sillyman michaels says:

    another slim ball move by our corrupt city gov’t to bleed all of us a little more

    1. Precisely! says:

      Nice to see another citizen that posesses a clear understanding of our government.

      “Wednesday’s decision is required to meet the state and federal mandates and homeland security needs in addition to infrastructure replacement costs.”

      Translation: “We’ve squandered all of the funds previously collected for this purpose. We will begin collecting additional funds, which may, or may not be directed in part to this cause. You will willingly pay the additional rates, since your health and national security may otherwise be jepordized. And, as usual, those who are unwilling or unable to meet the increased demands, will be delt with severely; to include legal actions and property liquidation.
      Thank you for your continued support”.

  3. L. Furst says:

    In my last few water bills there was a notice stating certain bacteria was found in the Baltimore City water supply. The notice went on to say that the bacterial or pathogens were not harmful to normal healthy people,but could potentially be harmful for those with immunosuppressed people, and to newborns. In the face of a rate hike, I would be concerned that all efforts be directed to making sure our water supply was a %100 safe. Furthermore, It is my feeling that the bacterial be further investigated and made known to the general public in a more aggressive way. Most people, I suspect, just open there water bill and do not read the inserted materials.

  4. B says:

    We get charged a minimum fee in the city. Raising the rates aren’t the answer for people to conserve. In the 10 years i’ve lived in the city, i’ve never once gone above the minimum charge, and few that I know have. Because of the minimum charges, there’s no reason to conserve. My 3 month bill has doubled in the past 10 years, and i’ve never gotten anywhere near the minimum consumption amount. I conserve because I want to, the billing has nothing to do with it.

    1. Jeff says:

      I agree with you 100%……$70.59 now…a few years ago it was in the $52 range…we should be charged for actual usage!!!!
      When it comes to conservation, sometimes I think…WHY BOTHER!!!

  5. HowMuchLonger says:

    Why would you keep raising prices when you know people are struggling as it is!!!! Also, i’ve noticed that the people doing the raising, are either “RICH OR WELL TO DO”!!!!!
    When is America gonna stop this!!!!!

  6. chalkie says:

    I wonder if the city realizes that how much the population in the city has dropped over the last 20 years. In 1990 the city had 736,014 and in 2010 it has 620,961. A little over 115,000 people have left the city. Thats alot of tax money and little things like this keeps driving more and more out. I mean come on they put that stupid bottle tax in and pepsi shut down its manufacturing plant in the city. Every little thing they do either effects a buisness or a family, and they both keep leaving the city. Instead of increasing taxes and water bills, they should be trying to incourage buisnesses and people back into the city, Instead of running them out of town. But wait a second our governor was a big part of that in the city when he was mayor, and look what is going on in the state now. He tries to tax us on everything possible, I am waiting on a air tax or you cannot breath.

  7. PAUL E. MICELLI says:

    BACK TO BUYING BOTTLED WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. cms827 says:

    My mom just told me when she got her water bill this month it is the same exact amount it has been for the last 3. She called and of course could get no one on the phone so she sent the mayor and email. The water company called her back and said they will investigate. Someone is not doing their job, another lazy city worker that is not showing up to read the meter just punching in the same as last time does not matter how many days of consumption……what a joke, and her bill is way up from previous before the last 3, and she is a widow. How much water can she possibly use…..

  9. Karen Carrington says:

    I am appalled at this. My bill took an increase before with them saying that it is due to the water main break. If the city government would make processes more efficient then maybe they will be able to save money. My bill for the past 2 quarters have been over $150 and I don’t even stay home all day. Who is using the water because it is definitely not me.

    1. Erica says:

      I’m having the same issue. My bill literally doubled the last 2 quarters.

  10. anti-Bmore says:

    I am sick and tired of these stupid political fools sitting around their conference tables conjuring up more and more ways to take from poor, struggling individuals. Between taxes, water rates, parking fees, environmental fines and rising costs, not to mention no pay raises, how is a single person supposed to make it? This is a shyt city run by a bunch of idiots who has their heads up their arses. I can’t wait until the fools in those seats now get voted the heck out of office, especially that ugly big-lipped idiot mayor.

  11. ED says:


  12. Charles F. Dowd says:

    First:: Why doesn’t the city wate supply department send peoe out to ascertan that every newly constructed building has a working water meter? There are thousands of new and recently built houses in and around Baltimore. Do your job, and stop leecing the people.
    Next: Loudmouth Why don’t you use your energy and your mouth to do some constructivecruiticis instead of making inflammatory PERSONAL vulgar remarks about people, or are you afraid to.

  13. More tax says:

    Why in the world are they continuing to tax more and more? The fact is the waste the monies they already receive.
    My favorite one they did, Bought the senator theater then when they couldn’t get their money back at auction they bought it from their self and rented it at 1dollar a year to it’s former owner who ran it into the ground. Sell that place to a developer and start selling iff serplus properties to raise funds don’t tax the over taxed you twits with no clue

  14. vicki says:

    THis is absolutely crazy!!!! Water rates going up, tolls going up, property tax goiing up, bottle taxes…..etc. And they wonder why people are moving out of the city let alone Maryland!!! Cannot wait for election day to get some new blood in power. Hopefully they will be able to undo some of these unreasonable bills that have been passed and make this city of place we can call HOME!!!

  15. Big Surprise? says:

    The water mains in Baltimore were constructed nearly a century ago, and are crumbling due to lack of maintenance.
    Sure, they all sat around the table and “voted” for rate hikes, because that is what you do when you don’t have to work for it. If Baltimore were a business, it would have gone bankrupt decades ago. Raising taxes is the only reason it has pitifully survived. Now, here we are in the midst of a recession, and they continue to leach at every monetary source they can tap.
    Its almost as if they are unaware that they have surpassed the limits of what the community can bear. Clearly, the city is in a downward spiral, and for those who are foolish enough to believe the increased revenue will go to good use; get a clue. The history of corruption in this town has shown it to be more than probable that the funds will be “diverted” to lesser causes; eventually making its way to the accounts of the wealthy and their business cronies. The water mains will continue to degrade, fail, and the mayor will cry to the feds for emergency funding to replace the system that they have used to successfully milk the public with such shameless disregard.
    I don’t mean to sound negative here. I just can’t find anything positive to say about the way that Baltimore’s leaders have wrecked the lives of those that have loyaly supported them for decades. It is of little wonder that families and businesses are leaving Baltimore in droves. They can find “greener pastures” in literally any direction they go.

  16. Free2speak2 says:

    Joe has bumped his head for real!!! Obviously you don’t take baths or wear clean clothes.The f—ing water bill has had sevaeral increases along with other surcharges. The more you try to conserve the more they increase. It needs to be decreased. This is ridiculous & needs to be fully investigated.

  17. truthteller says:

    whats big blue and sleeps 6 ? a city work truck !!!; lets not forget the city workers who were busted for gambeling. someone has to pay for all lets raise water costs,come election time lets try and remember this………

  18. michael roach says:

    HAHA. Raise the rates! Are you crazy? You people didn’t see this coming! You people had a chance to elect a more honest person than OWE’MALLY this past election. Instead you chose the same old lies. He said there would be no new tax raises and he would work hard to lower taxes if he could, but instead he has spent every chance to slip some kind of sneaky price hike in to anything he can. These people in politics do not live like we do. When it comes down to it they count hundred dollar bills and we count twentys.

  19. Doug says:

    Well,so much for daily showers and flushing the john.
    Guess that will evolve into a monthly event.

  20. Jerry says:

    I finaly figured out the way the goverment works.
    If you want this kiss my a** . and when I want something i’ll kiss your a**.
    Take the money that the city spent on tareing down houses that could have been rebuilt and put it towards the infostructure. The city has money for stupid things like that.. Good case in point, A city street just laid and in 2-3 months sections were cut and replaced at least 2x in the same spot. The nice part about it is you have 3-4 city workers just standing around and doing nothing..

  21. Bud says:

    All you hippies think you’re saving the world with your low flow shower heads and being “green”. I am going to go turn my hose on for a few days and bag up all the recyclables I can find and put them in with the regular trash.

  22. Jeff says:

    I don’t mind paying my FAIR SHARE, but I DON’T like paying what is called a “MINIMUM BILL”……bill me for what acually I use,

    Chase the people & businesses that are WAY behind on their bills and NOT paying, there are plenty, you’d be surprised!!!

    Here is the website to check any city address.

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