via Sidewalk City
via Sidewalk City

Sewer and water rates would rise 33 percent over three years under a new plan floated on Tuesday. 

On average, rates would go up about 9.4 percent per year through 2018. Here are the proposed increases. Water rates would rise 9.9 percent each year, while sewer rates would rise 9 percent.

The main reason for the increases is repairs. For water infrastructure alone, the price tag is $1.3 billion over six years. For sewer repairs, officials expect to spend $701.1 million over six years.

While the need to shift the cost to citizens is likely to be debated, the need to improve the city’s sewer and water systems becomes clearer every time a sewage overflow is reported. Infrastructure that included water mains also the cause of two recent sinkholes in Mt. Vernon. In a release about the increases, the city also listed seven other sites of water main breaks over the last year.

With the rate increases, officials want to increase credits for low-income and elderly residents. It also wants to eliminate billing that charges for a minimum usage, and replace quarterly billing with monthly bills.

The city posted a rate calculator where residents can find out the cost of their new bill.

A tentative hearing before the Board of Estimates is set for August 31 at 9 a.m.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.