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Department of Public Works proposes to increase water rates

City officials question DPW on raising water rate price
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Posted at 5:05 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 18:29:10-04

BALTIMORE — A debate about raising water rates in Baltimore circulated at the board of estimates meeting on Wednesday.

The Department of Public Works suggested raising prices will help them better their services, but city officials questioned how the company will help those who just can't afford it.

For the next three years, the water company is proposing a three percent increase for water and storm water rates, along with a three and a half percent increase for wastewater.

However, DPW says the total increase over three years will be less than just one year of the most recent set of increases.

DPW says the increase is necessary because of inflation. They also explained the importance of investing in retainment and recruitment projects to better serve customers. But although the company is working to improve their services, they still missed out on a lot of money when they failed to collect water payments for over ten years from high-end condominiums.

Mayor Brandon Scott questioned why DPW did not collect these bills for so long.

"We are finding especially on our large accounts that the coordination needed in some of our industrial commercial areas was not there, but that coordination and upfront planning is now occurring. We're being able to get huge accounts back online and collect payments," said Matthew Garbark, Deputy Director of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works.

Although they are getting past due payments from large corporations and proposing a low water rate increase, city leaders want to know what can be done to help working class families who struggle to pay the bill as it is.

The water company says low-income customers with arrearage are eligible for up to $2,000 to pay off their balance.

Residents can contact them to apply: (410) 396-5398

A public hearing is set to take place on June 15, 2022, at 9 a.m. during the board of estimates meeting.

The public will be able to give their feedback on the rate increase and request more information from DPW.