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Contractor should be liable for damages from water meter installation

It has long been recognized that Baltimore City has a problem with the accurate determination of its residents' water bills. It is not the purpose of this letter to yet again tell the story of another Baltimore City resident who got an erroneous water bill, although I did receive one several months ago for $45,000. Clearly, a key component of this problem deals with the antiquated water meters that are presently currently in use within the city. I applaud the City Council's decision to replace these meters with state-of-the-art units that will ensure accurate bills ("City selects low bidder to install 400,000 water meters," Nov. 6). It's about time!

What I am bothered by is the proposal by the city to require home and property owners to purchase insurance to pay for any damage done by the installation of these meters by the contractor hired by the city. It has always been accepted that any damage to a water line on the homeowner's side of the water meter is the responsibility of the homeowner to repair. What I find hard to understand is why any damage done to the waterline on the homeowners side during it's installation by the contractor is not the contractor's responsibility to repair. If they break it, shouldn't they have to fix it? Why should I be required to take out insurance to pay for damages caused by the contractor during installation?

This is unfair and ridiculous and in essence is implementing yet another city tax for water meter installation. The city should get something right for a change and replace faulty water meters with no burden to the property owner.

Michael Dvorkin, Baltimore

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