City must not let erroneous water bills lead to tax sales

Whether estimated, misread, misrecorded, or just plain mistaken, no erroneous water bill should send any properties to tax sale ("Tax sale timeout," March 25). In its City Council testimony of March 21, the Public Works and Finance departments pledged to investigate all 2,300 pending tax sales occasioned by water bill liens and to provide documentation of their property-by-property findings of accuracy or error before the April 30 tax sale deadline. Based on these findings, fairness dictates that all categories of questionable water liens must exempt properties from being sold to May 2012 tax sale investors. We appreciate the good faith compromise to exempt the 7 percent of water bills which are estimated, but we expect that same justice for the "estimated" hundreds of other water lien victims of errors beyond estimation.

Mary Pat Clarke, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Baltimore City Council.

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