N.B. water and sewer bills spike

NORTH BALTIMORE – Residents again crowded council chambers on Tuesday to protest increases on water and
sewer bills.
Most residents, some of whom have voiced concerns at previous council meetings, questioned why their
usage has gone up significantly when their habits have stayed largely the same. Others said they have
even cut back on shower length, toilet flushes or laundry to try and decrease usage, but are still being
overwhelmed by their bill.
"I don’t know how much more I can cut down. I don’t know what else to do," said one citizen.

They expressed further frustration with what they feel is a lack of action being taken.
"I think what everyone wants is answers. We don’t want this dragged out for two or three more
months," another citizen said.
Council member Aaron Patterson questioned what the village is doing to find answers to the citizens’
"This isn’t the first time we’ve had people here contesting their consumption (usage)," said
"We’ve got to start investigating," he said.
Council member Leslee Thompson examined consumption rates for the entire village comparing 2013 vs. 2014.
In March of 2013, the village used roughly 7.8 million gallons of water, compared with 10.4 million
gallons for the same time period in 2014. A similar trend was noted in April 2013 vs. April 2014, when
usage increased by about 1.6 million gallons.
Another discrepancy Thompson also pointed out was that on several water bills she examined, the usage was
a square number. Many of the usage figures were 3,550 gallons or 2,950, for example.
"Are they rounded or something," Thompson asked. "Nobody can use an even amount of water
all the time."
In response to citizen concerns and discrepancies pointed out by Thompson, council took a step to begin
pinpointing the issue.
Employees of the water department will be asked to manually monitor a select group of houses’ water
rates. This manual reading will be compared to the electronic reading. Council also agreed to look into
having the electronic meter readers calibrated and to further discuss rates, billing and consumption at
Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting.