Mar 16, 2020
The water department for Baltimore City can’t get it right: The Ritz Carlton condos overlooking the harbor, costing a minimum of half a million dollars per condo, have paid NO water bills for 10 years. The company even asked the water department to send a water bill! And a city auditor also found “a few hundred” other businesses and residents that had never been asked to pay their water and sewer bills in Baltimore.
Somehow, wealthier residents, new properties and businesses have water bills “overlooked,” while until a year ago, poor residents could have their homes taken and sold for owing $500 on their water bills.
This same department could not find a way to collect millions of dollars in overdue bills—like seven million owed from the bankrupt Bethlehem Steel facility. Yet the department did manage to double city and county residents’ water and sewer bills between 2007 and 2014. Meanwhile, the water department is running years behind in repairs on the old pipes that break every day.
And while the department charged everyone for “smart” meters, there’s no one to answer the phone or the complaints when residents, who monthly get a $100 bill, suddenly get one charging them thousands.
The city cannot run a functional water department. It only works well for big developers wanting special tax breaks.