At City Hall, Debates Over Water Affordability Measures Rage On

https://therealnews.com/columns/at-city-hall-debates-over-water-affordability-measures-rage-on

Baltimoreans are still waiting to receive water bills for May, June, and July. The city’s billing system was suspended due to a May 6 ransomware attack on the city. This week, the Department of Public Works (DPW) said they’d sent out postcards to remind customers to expect higher bills.

Water affordability advocates applauded DPW’s transparency about the upcoming bills, but they say they’re still waiting for the department to engage with them on their proposal for income-based water billing, which they have been working on for years.

City Council’s Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee held their first work session on the Water Accountability and Equity Act (Council Bill 180307) on Thursday morning. The bill would tie the price of water to residents’ income and create an independent Office of the Water-Customer Advocacy and Appeals for customers to dispute bills. Importantly, it would also change the definition of a water customer, making assistance available for renters.