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Maryland House of Delegates approves bill to end tax sales on Baltimore homes with water bill debt

Del. Nick Mosby speaks Jan. 7, 2019, about legislation banning the city from placing properties in tax sale over water debt.
Del. Nick Mosby speaks Jan. 7, 2019, about legislation banning the city from placing properties in tax sale over water debt. (Luke Broadwater / The Baltimore Sun)

Maryland’s House of Delegates approved a bill Thursday that would put an end to a practice in Baltimore of putting homes up for tax sales due to unpaid water bills.

“It stops the archaic and predatory practice of taking people’s property over a water bill. There’s no other utility in the state that has the ability of doing that and I don’t think that Baltimore city should engage in that process,” said Del. Nick Mosby, a Baltimore Democrat who sponsored the bill.

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As the 138-0 vote was recorded, Mosby took photos in the House chamber of the board where the votes appear. Del. Cheryl Glenn, also a Baltimore Democrat, turned around and gave Mosby a high-five.

The city annually sends about 1,000 properties, including homes and churches, to tax sale for water debts. If the property owners don’t pay the debt, they can lose the properties to foreclosure.

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A companion bill sponsored by Baltimore Sen. Mary Washington is pending in the Senate.

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