Homeowners: Water Bill Mistakes Led To Us Possibly Losing Our Homes

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Imagine getting a water bill that’s hundreds, even thousands, more than usual. It’s happening in Baltimore City. Now homeowners are taking their fight to City Council.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the contentious meeting.

Some of those people say they are in danger of losing their homes to tax sale, all because of what they say are mistakes on their water bill. Now the council is taking action.

City homeowners are waging war over water bill mistakes.

“So what do I do? Do I pay your inflated water bill of $530? Or do I take care of my child?” said Rhonda Wimbish.

Wimbish has been fighting a discrepancy in her water bill for a year. Now she’s just found out her home is in tax sale!

“I feel like now I’m being threatened to lose my home when I’ve done all I could to correct the problem,” Wimbish said.

About 2,300 property owners are set to lose their homes due to unpaid water bills.

“I won’t even wash, do laundry, until absolutely necessary because I’m afraid the water bill is going to go sky high,” said April Holland.

A scathing audit of the Department of Public Works shows widespread billing problems. The city is now issuing $4.2 million in refunds to 38,000 water customers. The City Council is now proposing a two-year moratorium on seizing homes until billing problems are resolved.

“It is a great embarrassment to see your home for sale in the public newspaper when you know you’ve done everything right except pay a water bill that is incorrect,” said Councilman Carl Stokes.

The Department of Public Works is improving the system, replacing old meters with new digital ones. The department has increased the number of meter readers so each and every home’s water meter is read accurately each quarter.

“We want to make sure our customers get fair, accurate, timely bills,” said Kurt Kocher, Department of Public Works.

Something customers say they want, too.

The Department of Public Works has also added more customer service representatives to help people who have discrepancies in their water bills.

Council President Jack Young will introduce the moratorium on tax sales due to unpaid water bills on Monday. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has spoken out against the move.

More from Meghan McCorkell
Comments

One Comment

  1. 1-0-3-0 WITHERSPOON says:

    THE VERY SALARYS THE TAX PAYERS PAY. THE WATER DEPARTMENT GOT CAUGHT STEALING. START LAYING THEM OFF, THEY EITHER CAN NOT COUNT OR THIEVES

    1. John says:

      Most ridiculous misuse of power I have ever heard. Hope they throw a brick book every person involved.

  2. adraine says:

    I agree and make omalley and blake pay for it

  3. Ray Ray says:

    Rawlings-Blake is a real POS and she has been demostrating since she has been elected mayor that she does not care for the citizens of Baltimore or their concerns. Before it is all over instead of having people move into Baltimore she is going to have a flood of people moving out. It is a shame that the citizens have to wait such a long time to get someone to run against her in the next election but you can believ e someone will run and they will win. Then she can take her big lip self some place else.

  4. cms827 says:

    My mother has gotten the same amount on her water bill for the past two years. Even after my father passed of course she was not using as much water, I mean how much can one elderly peson use? The bill came the exact same amount every time. Tried calling there it was always busy or you were put on hold forever, she was on hold for over 2 hours one time I told her to hang up,,,,,now all these people that work there must just take their phones off the hook for them to be busy all day long, all these people should be fired immediately and replaced with people that really want to work. These people all the way down the line were not doing their job from reading water meters to office personnel get rid of them all.

  5. JJJJ says:

    Is anyone surprised by the corruption and incompetence in the city government? Interesting that the Mayor wants the tax sales to go on regardless of mistakes. What a jerk.

  6. IRA A says:

    I HAVE BEEN CALLING AND BEEN TO THE WATER COMPANY FOR OVER AN YEAR NOW AND HAVE GOT NOTHING BUT RUN AROUND AND THEM TELLING ME THAT I MUST HAVE AN LEAK SOMEWHERE FOR AN FAMILY OF THREE TWO ADULTS AND AN MINOR IT IS NO WAY WE USE OVER 1200 GALLONS OF WATER ESPECIALLY WHEN THE HOUSE IS EMPTY ALL DAY FROM US BEING AT WORK AND SCHOOL.. THEY ARE LOSING THERE MINDS WHAT CAN I DO I NEED SOME LEGAL HELP ON THIS ISSUE I WILL NOT AND REFUSE TO LOSE MY HOME OVER WATER THAT I DIDNT USE……

  7. Ellen says:

    Blake is an idiot that she doesn’t want to back the moratorium. By not trying to help Baltimore citizens save their home she is just starting to show her true colors. That she isn’t in it to help people of her city just to make money!

  8. P of the Dollo says:

    Mayor Blake the RAT she is ashame to the city of Baltimore. I knew from the start that she wasn’t any good in the first place. I don’t think that Ms. Dixon would had done such a bad thing to the people of Baltimore. To me, I think that someone is stealing the money from the Baltimoreans in a different kind of way. The leaders of this city are very mean people and it’s ashame that we have suck BULL running this city. But, they don’t think what goes around comes around.

  9. Shirley says:

    I am so disappointed in Mayor Rawling-Blake. I voted for her as the lesser of two evils, but if she ever run for office again, she can’t count on my vote. In one of her emails on the city site, she claims she share a deep abiding love and commitment for the great city and it’s people…that’s a laugh! I sat back and waited to see what she would do as mayor, but this water bill issuse just got me BOILING. How DARE she be against help for people losing their homes over an issues the CITY caused. WHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE…..go figure

  10. Jorge says:

    Do you keep receipts? Do you know what your fee rates are? Do you read and keep records of your meter? Has you house been put in recievership due to an overcharge? If your answer is yes to all, you might just have gerounds for a juicy lawsuit against the city of Baltimore. Heck if all of you get together for a class action or a federal investigation request, you will see this problem “magically” disappear FAST.

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