Baltimore, MD— Today, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced he would champion the demands of residents and delay water rate increases. The Mayor’s order initiates a 3-month delay in the effective date for the Fiscal Year 2021 water rate increases, including water, sewer, and stormwater rates from July 1, 2020 to October 1, 2020.
Food & Water Action, the Baltimore Right to Water Coalition, and Baltimore residents have been urging Baltimore City leaders to take broader action on water affordability in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement comes after the Baltimore Right to Water Coalition sent a letter to city leaders on April 1st urging them to among other actions, expand assistance to households that lost wages and jobs due to the COVID pandemic, delay the rate increase and implement the Water Accountability and Equity Act to ensure water affordability going forward.
In response, Rianna Eckel, Senior Maryland Organizer with Food & Water Action issued the following statement:
“Thank you, Mayor Young, for listening to the Baltimore Right to Water Coalition and residents across the city by halting water rate increases during the current pandemic. Nearly half of our city was already overburdened by their water bills before the pandemic. As Baltimore families have been facing extreme wage loss and record numbers of unemployment, this decision to suspend the 10% rate increase is the right one. No Baltimorean should have to skip handwashing in the midst of COVID-19 over fears of unaffordable water bills. Delaying water rate increases means fewer Baltimoreans will have to worry about making tradeoffs with other essentials like groceries or medicine. Next up for Baltimore water justice: direct the Department of Public Works to fully implement the Water Accountability & Equity Act by July 13th.”