TOWSON, MD—County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Tuesday announced that Baltimore County would hire an outside contractor to assist with water meter readings, and will deploy County staff to assist the Baltimore City Department of Public Works with sending bills to County customers in order to avoid any further billing delays.
“Residents deserve to have their water bills delivered in an efficient and effective manner. We’ve heard from many who are frustrated that they haven’t yet received their water bills and others who are anxious to receive their bills so they can budget for and pay them without any further delay,” Olszewski said. “We’re taking these steps to ensure we address our residents’ frustrations.”
Baltimore City manages water meter reading and billing for Baltimore County residents and businesses. Billing for all city water system customers was paused at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not yet resumed for County customers.
Because Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works has advised that they will not be able to begin meter readings in the County in the near future, the County is hiring Itron to collect water meter data for County customers. Itron will begin County meter readings in late October.
The meter data will not only allow for water billing to resume, but is also critical for the accurate calculation of sewer charges, which the County bills for as part of its annual property tax collection.
In addition, the County will deploy four staff members from its Department of Public Works to assist the team in Baltimore City in preparing and sending bills to County customers.
County residents should expect to begin receiving bills beginning mid-November. The new bills will cover water consumption from residents’ last bill through meter readings this fall.
“One of the most frequent complaints I receive is about water billing – and with Baltimore City as the lead, it has been tough to sometimes get answers,” said Councilman David Marks. “Last night, the County Council passed funding from the federal CARES Act that will allow the county to help expedite long-stalled water billing.”
Baltimore County and Baltimore City have partnered to conduct a comprehensive review of the business processes that govern the water delivery system that serves both jurisdictions.
The system is managed by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works under an agreement that dates back to 1972, and a 1974 agreement governs the shared sewer system. The review, announced last year, is underway.