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By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | June 26, 2012
Baltimore's Board of Estimates will hold a public hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday on a proposed 9 percent increase to water and sewer rates. The board meets in room 215 at City Hall, 100 Holliday Street. The latest cost increase would raise the average family of four's annual bill from $1,170 to $1,276, public works officials said. The city has increased water and sewer rates by 9 percent or more all but two years since 2000 to pay for repairs to the aging system. A decade ago, the average family paid $517 annually for city water.
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NEWS
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2012
For the fourth consecutive year, Baltimore officials are proposing a 9 percent increase to water and sewer rates — and the charges will continue to grow indefinitely to cover the costs of major projects, they say. The proposed rate increases come as the Department of Public Works has been grappling with high-profile billing problems that have been attributed to faulty water meters, outdated computer programs and, in some neighborhoods, fictitious meter...
NEWS
May 22, 2012
A recent article about two former Department of Public Works meter readers did not accurately reflect the proactive steps taken by DPW to reduce water meter billing errors ("City official: Lazy workers faked water meter readings," May 15). The agency's new quality control processes were instrumental in identifying, addressing and resolving the issue by removing the two employees from government service before the reporters' inquiry. The truth is that when a pattern of errors emerged in December of 2011, the former employees were confronted, and they were quickly removed.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | May 16, 2012
I want to thank Ms. Nina Platt of Homeland for providing me with a copy of her outrageous water bill - and her neighbor's - because, until this happened, I was feeling left out of the Great Baltimore Water Bill Commiseration. It seems like everybody in the city but me has a goofy and outrageous water bill to brag and gripe about. My bill looks normal, boring and puny compared to what I see here: $813.75 due by May 29 for Ms. Platt, who lives alone, and $1,219.06 for the family of four next door.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | May 15, 2012
Two city water meter readers turned in phony numbers in at least two neighborhoods in recent months, the Department of Public Works acknowledged Tuesday, leading to more inaccurate billing by an agency that has been troubled by aging infrastructure and high error rates. As the Bureau of Water and Wastewater tries to correct the mistakes, residents who were undercharged are seeing a spike in their water charges - and officials say they must pay. The latest twist in the city's water billing problems, which have affected at least one in 10 local homeowners, did not go over well in the North Baltimore neighborhood of Homeland, where residents were already angry about the unusually high charges.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | March 8, 2012
As Baltimore's Public Works Department issues more than $4.2 million in water bill refunds, Howard County officials say they will likely avoid similar issues because of recent upgrades to the county billing system. "We just finished a total upgrade of our water billing system in the last two years; we do not use the same system Baltimore uses," county spokesman Kevin Enright wrote in an email. He said the error rates are now at 1 percent. Water meters are read and transferred electronically using a radio interface.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater and Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | March 5, 2012
The Baltimore City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday calling on Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration to order a halt to the practice of placing liens against homes with unpaid water bills. "This is not to say that people shouldn't pay their bills," said Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young. But he added, "The department's audit presented a lot of troubling things. We can't take the chance that these bills are inaccurate. " The resolution comes after a city audit showed that tens of thousands of households in the city and Baltimore County received incorrect water bills.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper and Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | February 22, 2012
Baltimore's Public Works Department is issuing more than $4.2 million in water bill refunds to 38,000 households in the city and Baltimore County after an audit showed the agency overcharged tens of thousands of customers. The audit, released Wednesday, found that some homes received only estimated water bills for years at a time while others received no bills. And while city water officials say they made $40 million in billing corrections in 2010 alone, the auditors were unable to locate paperwork to support that.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | November 30, 2011
Workers have begun replacing water meters in 12,000 households in Baltimore City and county, public works officials announced this week. The meters can be read remotely, eliminating the need for workers to travel to the homes, and will replace outdated meters that no longer function properly, public works spokeswoman Celeste Amato said. Officials hope to eventually replace meters for the 400,000 households on the municipal water system with the meters, which will eliminate the need to estimate water bills, Amato said.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun | June 4, 2011
The problem: A paving stone barely covered an open water meter vault in Upper Fells Point. The back story: Finding a parking spot near Patterson Park can be a challenge. But one location on Bank Street presented a hidden danger for Janice Evans of Nottingham. About two months ago, she parked in the 2200 block of Bank St., just east of North Patterson Park Avenue, to visit a friend. Evans had to get out of her vehicle somewhat awkwardly because the tree well had been walled in with bricks.
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