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.|