Baltimore City officials plan to request Board of Estimates approval to raise water rates by 9.9 percent each year through fiscal 2018 and sewer rates by 9 percent each year through fiscal 2018. Additionally, they plan to transition from a quarterly to monthly billing cycle, and eliminate minimum-use charges for properties that use minimal water. Finally, they plan to propose adding a new account management fee that will be the same set fee for all accounts, and an infrastructure fee assessed by meter size. Reports the Baltimore Sun:
City officials say the rate increases are needed to finish the ‘replacement of all residential and commercial water meters in both Baltimore City and Baltimore County.’ … The increases also will help the city comply with federal and state mandates ‘protecting public health and environment, as well as investing in our aging underground water and sewer systems,’ officials said.
Baltimore has embarked on a six-year, $1.3 billion capital improvement plan for water projects that includes replacing water mains, covering open water reservoirs and rehabbing pumping stations. The city is also on a six-year, $701 million improvement plan for wastewater projects that includes massive upgrades at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.
A public hearing on the new charges is expected to be scheduled for 9 am on August 31.