Carroll objects to city's increase in water rates

March 15, 2002|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County Commissioners objected yesterday to a planned 16 percent increase in Baltimore water rates because most of the extra money will go to fix parts of the city's decaying infrastructure that have little direct impact on Carroll.

The county draws much of its water from the city-owned Liberty Reservoir but maintains its own treatment plants and networks of pipes. Commissioners say Carroll would be paying 16 percent more for untreated water while deriving little benefit from planned upgrades to the city's water and sewer systems.

The commissioners voted yesterday to have county staffers attend an April 10 public hearing in Baltimore on the rates and petition the city for a lower rate.

"We don't use any of their pipes, we just skim water right off the surface at Liberty," said Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge in arguing that the county shouldn't have to pay the full increase, which the city announced last week.

The city has imposed rate increases five of the past seven years, but Carroll paid previous increases without objection, said Doug Myers, county director of public works.

"We've always shared costs," said George Winfield, the city's public works director. "We don't isolate the cost of projects based on whom they benefit."

This year's increase would go into effect April 11 if approved.

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