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Young should sign water billing reform measure | READER COMMENTARY

Tom and Amy Geddes, who live in Mount Washington, received an outrageous water bill for $17,000, claiming they used 2.2 million gallons of water in their home in 2012.
Tom and Amy Geddes, who live in Mount Washington, received an outrageous water bill for $17,000, claiming they used 2.2 million gallons of water in their home in 2012. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun)

After he has reviewed the bill and its amendments, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young must sign the modifications to the Water Accountability and Equity Act (WAEA) (”Baltimore City Council speeds up legislation on water billing, tenants rights as new term approaches,” Nov. 18).

Baltimoreans have needed truly affordable, accountable drinking water for years, and COVID-19 has made the important pieces of this legislation, and the original WAEA, even more urgent now. Tens of thousands of Baltimoreans have lost their jobs or wages since the start of the pandemic and are struggling to make ends meet. The revised Water Accountability and Equity Act will keep water bills permanently affordable for low-income households and increase tenant access to these programs. It will also ensure that people can get answers from the Department of Public Works when they believe they are sent an incorrect bill — currently a costly, and time consuming process.

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By signing the measure into law, Mayor Young can put us on the fastest path possible toward actualizing water affordability and accountability. The bill may not be fully implemented until next summer, but with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, it’s clear that the impacts of the crisis are long from over. Our communities will need innovative solutions like this to get through these tough times ahead. I implore Mayor Young to sign.

Dimitri Digbeu, Baltimore

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