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Baltimore Residents Fight Proposed Increase In Water Rates

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore residents are fighting back against a proposed increase in city water rates.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what that increase is expected to pay for.

City officials may think preventing flooded streets is enough to justify a water rake hike but, armed with their water bills, Baltimore residents rained down criticism.

“Enough is enough for the city of Baltimore citizens to pay these kinds of water bills,” said Phyliss Shipley.

Fifteen percent is what the Department of Public Works recommends as a rate hike to pay for repairs and investments and to update meters and the billing system. The typical customer winds up paying $800 a year.

“Some of you surely can remember the failure of Light Street and Charles Street that caused major disruptions to the lives of citizens and certainly motorists in the city,” said Rudy Chow, DPW.

In fact, according to DPW, most underground mains are at least 65 years old and some are more than 100 years old. But that argument fell on deaf ears as opponents threatened to both boycott and move out.

“I’m asking you today to use your common sense and stop taking our money to do whatever you want to do with it ’cause you are not fixing the pipes,” said Janet Blair.

“And families like myself, we are moving out of Baltimore City and we are going to pass the word: do not spend your money in Baltimore City,” said Donald Smith.

The vote is next week.

Despite all criticism, the board is expected to approve the rate hike with an additional 11 percent increase in 2015 and 2016.

If approved, the 15 percent increase would take effect in July.

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