The zoo has paid its water bills

I am always bemused and bewildered when the Maryland Zoo is included in articles about delinquent water bills ("Businesses behind in water bills by millions," Aug. 12). The zoo has paid its water bills on time for the past five years.

The only time there is a delay is when there is a discrepancy, which was the case this past winter when our bills were increasing at an unusually high rate. We worked closely with the city to correct the issue and are now moving forward with a fair and reasonable solution for both parties.

Of course, the city works with the zoo when there are questions about our billing. While the Maryland Zoological Society operates the zoo on behalf of the state, it is the city that owns our land, our 55 buildings and our more than 1,500 animals. The city is our landlord and proprietor, and we use city water to care for all of the things that the state leases from the city.

We have eight water bills and, as you can imagine, they vary from period to period. It takes a coordinated effort between the zoo and the city to manage the process. We have a very good working relationship with our partners in city government, and they should be commended for their work to resolve issues and answer questions that we may have about our water bills.

The Maryland Zoo is a true asset to the Baltimore region and state of Maryland. We've experienced tremendous growth over the past five years and we thank our visitors, members, donors and sponsors for much of our success. We also thank our local and state government leaders for their continued support.

Donald P. Hutchinson, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

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