Baltimore County To See 4.9% Water Rate Hike Starting July 1
BALTIMORE COUNTY - Water rates in Baltimore County are slated for a 4.9% increase after the city's spending board agreed to a proposal on Wednesday. Baltimore County authorities requested the rate adjustment, which will take effect on July 1 and last for the ensuing 12 months.
According to the City Department of Public Works, this request is a typical procedure in the county's establishment of water billing rates.
In the past two years, rate increases of 4.7% and 4% were requested, respectively. However, this regular increment has been subject to controversy. In 2015, a substantial 15% hike in rates for potable water and sewer services, attributed to the necessity of investing in the region's aging infrastructure, faced backlash.
The unanimous approval of the rate hike by the city's spending board occurred without debate. The office of Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski has yet to provide specific explanations for this year's rate increase.
The Public Works Department in Baltimore City manages a comprehensive water supply system, servicing roughly 1.8 million individuals across the region. This includes areas in Baltimore County, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, and Carroll counties, and the city itself. Each jurisdiction within this distribution area establishes its own water rates and charges. The income generated from water meter billing contributes to the system's operation and maintenance costs.
A 3% hike in the city's drinking water rates, considerably smaller than in previous years, was approved last year for a duration of three years. County quarterly water bills differ from the city's monthly bills. Charges related to infrastructure and sewer usage are present on city bills but not on county ones, and other costs unique to the county also affect their rates.
Over time, the city's public works department has grappled with accurately issuing water meter bills. An investigative report in 2020 unveiled thousands of faulty water meters and unresolved customer complaints.
Under the leadership of Jason Mitchell, the department's director, the city has highlighted recent enhancements in customer service, such as reduced waiting times for phone support.