“Since she took office, Mayor Catherine Pugh has been entertaining the prospects of privatizing the water system in Baltimore. Tonight, the Mayor’s Charter Amendments, as proposed by the Mayor’s Charter Review Commission, will head to the City Council. Included is an amendment that would clear the way for the Board of Estimates to award more contracts without a competitive bidding process. The City Council could only override the Mayor-controlled Board of Estimates decision with a supermajority vote. This is a power-grab by the Mayor that could lead to water privatization. In many cities, small contracts have acted as a foot in the door for a much larger, more comprehensive water privatization contracts.
“With French multinational water company, Suez Water, already lobbying Baltimore’s city officials to privatize the water system through a 50-year lease, it’s clear we need to stop this development before it leads to Suez’s total control over the water system. Water privatization would mean higher rates, worse service and a downsized workforce. Food & Water Watch implores the City Council to not only eliminate this section of the proposed Charter amendment entirely, but to also add language that would require a City Council vote on any water privatization deal, and to oppose any water privatization arrangement.”
See the final report of the Mayor’s Charter Review Commission, the changes mentioned are on page 28.