Justice

Flint Mayor Announces Suspension of Water Bills for Residents

March 11th 2016

By:
Alex Mierjeski

Flint, Mich. Mayor Karen Weaver announced on Wednesday that residents would no longer be made to pay for contaminated water, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The temporary suspension of water bills will lift the burden on residents paying for unsafe water while the city figures out how to disperse state-funded credits to residents who paid for nearly two years of contaminated water.

"Flint residents need and deserve this relief. I've said from day one, Flint residents should not have to pay for water they can not and are not using," Weaver said in a statement.

Last week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder approved $30 million in state funding to go toward helping Flint residents who paid some of the highest water bills in the country for contaminated water. In April 2014, the city switched from using Detroit's drinking water source to the Flint River, whose corrosive and improperly treated water leached lead and other contaminants into residents' taps.

The credits will reportedly cover about 65 percent of residents' water bills.

flint-fire-hydrant-spouting-brown-water-governor-rick-snyder

According to Weaver, officials were working to "get accounts in order" and calculate more than 85,000 residents' water bills with the credits applied.

Residents will only get a break from water bills for about a month, according to the Free Press. The credits represent an attempt to relieve public outrage over the handling of the contamination crisis, which some say was made all the more offensive by continuing to charge residents for toxic water. In January, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said as much in a tweet:

Ari Adler, a spokesperson for Snyder, said that the "$30 million for water bill relief is just one part of a much larger commitment from Gov. Snyder to fix the crisis in Flint so that people have safe water and address long-term concerns over infrastructure, education, healthcare, economic and other needs."

Meanwhile, the public cost of the ongoing crisis continues to climb, NBC reported. On Tuesday, Snyder's office said that the outside legal fees pertaining to the crisis, which are paid with public money, could climb as high as $2.7 million.