Rate Adjustment Request, Improved Assistance Program
The Baltimore City Department of Public Works announced Nov. 29, 2018, that it is requesting the Board of Estimates (BOE), which oversees spending for the City of Baltimore, to approve a single, simplified, water billing assistance program for Baltimore’s most financially vulnerable customers. The Board approved that request on Jan. 9, 2019.
This new payment assistance program will allow us to help more low-income customers who are struggling to pay their water bills.
In addition, the BOE approved a three-year series of rate adjustments, beginning July 2019, that continues repairing and maintaining our long-neglected water systems.
DPW’s sought a series of three annual increases of approximately 9 percent each, also beginning on July 1, 2019.
A typical bill for a family of three will likely rise by $8 per month. This includes 9 percent increases to the Stormwater Remediation charge. That charge has been unchanged since its introduction in 2013.
DPW anticipates that as early as fiscal year 2023 rate increases may begin to slow as the crucial multi-billion dollar construction program over the last few years begins to catch up with the backlog of aging infrastructure. As soon as fiscal year 2027, the rates should reach a steady state, with increases closer to the rate of inflation.
Assisting Vulnerable Customers
DPW's Baltimore H2O Assists program, will take effect in July 2019. For qualifying households, the new assistance program:
- Reduces the water and sewer use charges by 43 percent
- Removes both the Bay Restoration and Stormwater Remediation fees from the bill
- Provides assistance before customers fall behind on their bills
- Slashes a “typical” monthly bill from $99.88 per month to $61.16.
Baltimore City customers with a household income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $36,365 for a household of three) would be eligible for the program. Customers who already qualify for many common assistance programs will likely qualify for Baltimore H2O Assists.
More information about the program will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
DPW will continue to offer grants and payment plans to customers who need help catching up on their bills.