Susan Karasinski sits with a pile of legal documents and bills at her home related to a dispute over an $11,500 water bill.
Susan Karasinski sits with a pile of legal documents and bills at her home related to a dispute over an $11,500 water bill. (Karl Merton Ferron / The Baltimore Sun)

Susan Karasinski’s story about being charged $11,500 for her annual sewer fees and not receiving a resolution for over three years is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence in communities serviced by Baltimore’s Department of Public Works (“Fighting a $11,500 sewer bill, Baltimore County homeowner wins court case,” Sept. 16).

In 2017, only months after this $11,500 bill was issued to Ms. Karasinski, the department eliminated its dispute resolution process with the wave of Director Rudy Chow’s finger (“Advocates decry loss of appeal hearings in Baltimore water billing disputes,” Feb. 23, 2017). In the years since, people have struggled immensely to resolve outlandish and erroneous water and sewer bills.

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With the passage of the Water Accountability & Equity Act, this injustice in our communities can be resolved. The legislation, currently in the taxation, finance and economic development committee of the Baltimore City Council, would create an office of the water customer advocate who would work with families like the Karasinskis to correct mistakes with water and sewer bills in a timely, accountable manner. The water customer advocate would be independent of the Department of Public Works and would be accessible to Baltimore County residents.

I urge Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and City Council President Brandon Scott to ensure that the Water Accountability & Equity Act passes as soon as possible.

T.J. Cook

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