Philly business owners complain to City Council about water rates

Business owners are complaining about a major hike to Philadelphia’s water rates.  

Stuart Parmet, head of the Unified Business Owners Association of Philadelphia, says his water bill is way too high.

“A little over two years ago, my office manager brought me a water bill that showed an increase from a little over $1,500 a year to almost $50,000 a year,” said Parmet.  “My first reaction, this is about storm water?”

The higher rates are designed to cover the cost of handling stormwater and keeping it out of the sewer system.  They reflect how much water runs off a property instead of how much tap water is consumed there.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz says the rate spike could drive businesses out of Philadelphia.

“There’s 500 businesses that are going to take a big hit and the deal the city made to get them to come in was no taxes but when their water bill goes from $1,800 a month to $75,000 a month who cares about what the taxes are,” said Butkovitz.

The businesses are hoping City Council will intervene, but no decision has been made at this point.

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