Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No Sympathy for Baltimore City Water Rate Increase

Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is all in an uproar about the by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works request to increase the rate which city residents pay for water.  You are not going to get a lot of sympathy from the suburbs where we pay water rates that are exponentially higher than the residents of the city who use our water.

DPW spokesman Jeff Raymond said that the rate increases are required to invest in the aging water infrastructure in the city.  I think that's an outstanding idea.  In a city with a little over 600,000 residents, a city that closely resembles Louisville, Kentucky and Memphis, Tennessee in population, the city must invest in the pipes that keep it livable.  We too often see news of water main breaks the shut down the arteries of the city for days.  Remember the water main break that shut down Light Street in the heart of the business district for several weeks?  The crumbling infrastructure is not only unhealthy for the distribution of water in Baltimore, it's also destructive for the local economy.

The rate increase proposal that DPW has presented to the Board of Estimates are for a 15% rate increase this year and 11% increases in the following two years.  City officials estimate that the rate change will increase the average resident's annual bill to nearly $800.  As a resident of Carroll County,  I pay nearly $1,400 per year in water and sewer.  And I don't even have a pool.  I don't water my lawn.  And I don't take showers (I said I live in Carroll County, right?).

And another complaint - they take our water!  You'll recall this blog post about how Baltimore City acquired the water rights from Eastern Carroll County and Western Baltimore County with the construction of Liberty Reservoir.  You're going to take our water and then complain about how cheap you don't think it is?

So how sympathetic am I to someone who will pay a water bill that is 65% of mine?  Not much.  Or to parody the State Farm commercials - how sympathetic are Carroll County residents to the water rate increases in Baltimore City?  About as sympathetic as Abercrombie & Fitch when Rosie O'Donnell complains that she can't find anything that fits her in their store.

Money down the drain.

1 comment:

Michael Reisinger said...

a very large majority of Baltimore City residents live there on the tax payers dime, they pay little to no rent, get free groceries from a government debit card, free education, free cell phones and so much more so who is actually going to pay the increase in the water bill ? NOT THEM....US THE TAX PAYERS

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