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Baltimore City Public Works asks for water bill structure change

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Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 06:40:12-04

The Baltimore Department of Public Works is asking the city to allow them to change the structure of water bills.

Jeffrey Raymond, chief of communications for the department, said the restructure, while adding two fees, could reduce some residents' water bills.

He said the fees would pay for infrastructure repairs in the city, like water mains and sewage systems that collapse, and also pay to support administrative roles, so customers can call and have questions answered.

It would be a 9.9 percent increase in water rates and a 9 percent  increase in wastewater charges.

Raymond said if this system is approved, starting in October, city residents will have monthly bills, instead of quarterly, and would be able to see their water usage daily, thanks to updated meters.

He added the new bills would only be based off of how much water each homeowner uses, taking away a pay floor.

Residents aren't so sure the new plan would be in their favor.

Aaron Bell, a Baltimore resident, said there needs to be more accurate readings in his neighborhood.

"My neighbor on the left and my neighbor on the right are still getting grossly overcharged," he said.

Another resident, Thaddeus Clarke, said the city also needs to work on the quality of the water.

"I drink spring water, I don't drink the water here," Clarke said

Back in September of 2014, the city started the BaltiMeter Program, where new meters were put in to create more accurate readings for customers.

Bell doesn't believe the meters are accurate currently and says the only way to fix the system is to put in a new one.

Raymond said with this change, the city would be able to provide customers with access on their phone of daily water meter readings and with that, can work with their budget.

A public hearing will be held August 31, at 9 a.m. to discuss the possible changes.

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