BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After learning the Ritz Carlton complex in Baltimore has not gotten a water bill in over a decade, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young says he’s going to make sure this type of oversight doesn’t happen again.
The complex had not received a water bill since a new meter was installed in 2007 and now owes the city $2.3 million.
“I was outraged to learn of this major oversight in water billing as it relates to the Ritz Carlton,” Young said in a statement last week. “To think that previous administrations allowed residents’ properties to be sent to tax sale while not even billing the city’s wealthiest is absolutely shameful.”
Young is now calling to audit account records with various properties around the city including upcoming development permits and compare those to water billing accounts to search for other billing irregularities.
“I just want everybody to know, even though this has been going on for 12 years, my administration discovered this oversight and we have been transparent about it and we have plans to address it.”
He says this effort is to hopefully improve the city’s system.
“I’ve been, and remain committed to transparency, and the results will be made public,” he added.
He said people in the city in general not paying their water bills is also an issue, and that they not only want to make sure people are paying their water bills but that it is accurate and they’re getting charged for the real usage.
The Ritz Carlton in Baltimore released a statement:
“The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Inner Harbor, Baltimore works with many city agencies, and we are grateful for their support and services. We are aware of the City’s current investigation, and will fully cooperate to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”
Yvonne Dornic lives in Baltimore and owns properties. She’s gotten her water bills, but noticed a spike.
“Sometimes they jump 300 percent for no reason,” Dornic said.
Water bills have been a hot button issue in Baltimore. The City Council is considering a plan to revamp the billing system with a new customer service office and preventing people’s water from being cut off or a lien put on their property during an appeal.
A Department of Public Works spokesperson tells WJZ the department is working to address any issues.