By Mecca Evans
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced that water billing will resume in Baltimore City on May 8 and warned residents the charges may be higher than normal.
Young attributed the delay to complications tied to COVID-19, which has infected 1,602 city residents with 58 deaths. Statewide, there are 14,193 confirmed cases and 584 deaths. Since March, when Baltimore City first quarantined, residents have continued to receive running water services despite delays in the billing cycles.
“To protect our DPW staff from COVID-19, we created a process to generate bills, provide customer service remotely, and allow our employees to telework,” Young said Wednesday. “This process took a few weeks to put in place, which delayed billing cycles for March and April – time well spent, given that the new process provides flexibility to meet the changing needs of our communities.”
Young explained that residents can expect a larger water bill on May 8 because it includes the services provided during March and April. The Department of Public Works (DPW) has waived all late fees for water service and has implemented payment plans for residents.
Municipal agencies should consider offering assistance programs to residents, Young said. With the help of DPW Director Matthew Garbark, Young said a COVID-19 Discount has been created. Under the program, Baltimore City residents who show proof of unemployment can receive the same benefits as BH20 Assists and BH20 participants. This includes 43% of water and sewage costs, as well as a waiver of Bay Restoration and Storm Water Remediation fees, he said.