Water rates are going up, again

Activists rally in front of City Hall for a water affordability bill. (Baltimore Brew)

Your water billing rate went up 10 percent two weeks ago, the second 10 percent bump in a year, with another scheduled.  According to the Baltimore Brew, it was the 20th rate increase in 21 years.

The increase was set to go into effect July 1 but was postponed  until Oct.1 by outgoing Mayor Jack Young because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This latest water rate increase will cover over 200,000 residential customers, increasing the water and sewer bill of an average household by roughly $120 a year.

The new rate is the second installment of a three-year, 30% increase approved by the Board of Estimates in early 2019 when Catherine Pugh was mayor. She said the revenues were needed to cover long-delayed infrastructure repairs.  Then-city council president Young voted against the increase, citing the harm it would cause low-income families. But he was overruled by the three-vote majority controlled by Pugh.  Young now controls the Board of Estimates.

The Brew reminded readers that the increase comes despite the failure of the Young administration to complete a promised audit of unpaid water bills by large commercial property owners, including owners at the Ritz-Carlton condo complex and at Kevin Plank’s whisky distillery and Fells Point hotel.