Investing in Baltimore's Aged Sewers

6 Replies

Hello BP

Recently I heard a little piece from Marketplace on NPR about how Baltimore is facing a crisis due to it's very old infrastructure. Basically the whole sewer system needs to be replaced and there is a preliminary estimate it will cost 1.5 BILLION!

Is anyone aware or concerned about this? Would this information deter investors? Or do you think that since a lot of cities are in the same predicament that it's just not something that is really thought of?

Here's the article

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/sustainability/w...

Baltimore commissioned a study that said they would be bankrupt in 10 years. Baltimore is run by liberals. That means they act based on what sounds good not on what makes economic sense. 

As an example of their inefficiency, Just tonight I was going through mail from the city. I got two bills for properties I sold 2-3 months ago and 1 $1500 violation for a property i have never owned or had any interest in. 

It doesn't stop me from investing there. The returns are too good to ignore. I believe the current mayor is a good one. There are also many positives for Baltimore.

@Ned Carey  

Yea that is my thoughts as well but I just wanted to see what other folks think.

Second what @Ned Carey  said. The city is horribly mismanaged, although the current mayor has made efforts to correct that. I remember reading a story a few years ago about how one city office building with four different city tenants had four separate cleaning crews coming through at night. The $1.5B sewer repair is just the tip of the iceberg. There is also the issue of the aging rail tunnels and mass transit system, including the Red Line to nowhere. Let's not forget about the school budget, which they can't seem to get right year after year. I disagree with Ned about it being a liberal thing, however. Good management isn't a conservative or liberal thing. Baltimore could be awesome with just a little better management.

Originally posted by @Andy Gross :

 I disagree with Ned about it being a liberal thing, however. Good management isn't a conservative or liberal thing. Baltimore could be awesome with just a little better management.

Yes. Seconded. Most major cities in America have a "liberal" or Democratic mayor or council. Some are run well, some aren't. As an investor, I care about competence, regardless of the letter in the parentheses behind their name.

To answer the OP on this, by the way, it doesn't bother me one bit. Yeah, that's a lot of money, but Maryland is a pretty rich state, and you can be sure that there are going to be a lot of people, in the city or not, that want to keep Baltimore as a viable city for business at the absolute minimum.

Baltimore is in the process of upgrading at least some of the sewer lines now.  I have 2 rentals in Baltimore City, and I keep getting mailings from an insurance company (that I believe the city has partnered with) in regards to insuring sewer and water feed lines.  I think the city anticipates the infrastructure work is likely to cause things like sewer line failures and backups, and so rather than pay for damage, they want owners to buy insurance policies to pay for the damage to their property should it occur.  So yeah, I am somewhat concerned about the crumbling infrastructure in Baltimore.  If you are an owner it's going to affect your wallet one way or another, if not directly, then through increased taxes and fees.