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Renegotiation of consent decree for sewer overhaul not done, DPW says

The Brew

wrote a good

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this week about the Baltimore Department of Public Works' effort to renegotiate a huge federal consent decree, stretching the time and reducing the cost. Today Kurt Kocher and crew at DPW responded:

As usual, it looks as though Mark Reutter has it right because he's done the work. I suspect the news is not incorrect but just premature, in some higher-up's opinion. This is your life, Baltimore. Water bills are set to double during the next five years and the job of revamping the city's ancient sewer system (to say nothing of the drinking water pipes) is costing double the original $1 billion estimate. The problem stems from the Schaefer era, when long-term planning went away in favor of glitz and hope (and the traditional graft). Baltimore got a nice Inner Harbor out of the deal, but no way to keep it from filling with shit. And so this generation of taxpayers, and the next, will foot the bill, as decreed by the Feds (with our consent). The attempt to lower the price and stretch the deadline looks like a bow to reality, though when a government guy (Chow, in this case) says something under construction is "overbuilt" and needs to be done smaller and cheaper, we wonder. . . . If the feds were funding it, would Chow have the same opinion? And if the

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Brew

is a bit early with its news, DPWs information of late has been a bit er...late. Take this Wednesday release:

We were mighty glad to hear that leak had been stopped. Only problem: no one had told us the leak had started--three days before. Kudos to the

Brew

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for staying on this.

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