Baltimore City residents are paying more for their water than ever before, as the city plans to spend $2 billion over the next six years upgrading its aging water system. This could have serious implications for citizens, especially low-income residents. This year alone, nearly 25,000 households are delinquent on their water bills.
Joining Tom in Studio A to discuss new strategies for making water more affordable in Baltimore is Joan Jacobson, a freelance journalist and the author of the new Abell Foundation report, “Keeping the Water On;” and attorney Susan Francis, deputy director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Services, a group that provides legal assistance to low-income residents facing tax and water-bill delinquencies. Joining us by phone from Belmont, Massachusetts, is Roger Colton, a lawyer and economist at Fisher, Sheehan and Colton, with expertise in anti-poverty strategies; he has consulted on income-based utility-billing systems with cities around the country, including Philadelphia, which plans to launch one of the nation's first income-based water billing systems in 2017. Midday invited Rudolph Chow, the director of Baltimore's Department of Public Works, to be on the show; his office declined the invitation, but sent us a written statement responding to the Abell Foundation report. Read the DPW statement by clicking here.