On Tuesday, November 22, 2017, after months of meetings and mediation, the new Flint City Council voted 5-4 to approve a 30-year contract for the Great Lakes Water Authority to serve as the City of Flint’s primary water source, and utilize Genesee County as a backup water source.
Before casting his yes vote for the deal, newly elected councilman for Ward 3, Santino Guerra, said he would be voting for what he thought was morally right and what he felt was the best decision for the people of Flint.
Another newcomer to the Flint City Council, Maurice Davis, elected last week to represent the 2nd Ward, said it was time to move forward. He too voted in support of the agreement.
“The administration did everything in their power to come up with a deal such as this,” said Davis. “We were elected to make the right decision… That judge is not playing with this community. If we don’t unify with this administration and this body we’re going to be in a world of trouble.”
Mayor Weaver initially announced her recommendation to continue receiving water from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) back on April 18, 2017.
“I believe staying with GLWA as the city’s primary water source is the best option when you consider factors related to public health and when it comes to being fiscally responsible,” said Weaver.
For months the City Council refused to approve the recommendation, but never presented an alternate option. Instead, the Council passed month-to-month contracts with GLWA at a much higher rate than negotiated in the long-term deal. A move that has cost the City of Flint millions over the last few months, according to the City of Flint Finance Department.
“The recommendation I put forth would also avoid a projected 55 percent water rate increase and ensure the City of Flint gets millions of dollars to continue replacing lead tainted pipes, and make much-needed repairs to our damaged infrastructure so we are able to deliver quality water to residents,” stated Weaver. “The people of Flint have waited long enough for a reliable, permanent water source, and implementing my recommendation will provide that.”
A federal judge imposed a deadline giving the City Council until today to approve the agreement. Mayor Weaver looked visibly relieved after the Council’s vote late Tuesday night just before 11:00 p.m.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Weaver. “We have been waiting on a decision for months so I’m really glad that this is over now and we can move forward. The city has lost so much money waiting for this decision to be made and I’m really glad to have some of the new council members that were eager and willing and ready to get things moving. This is what the people deserve.”
The Flint City Council members who voted against the long-term water contract with GLWA were Kate Fields, Monica Galloway, Eva Worthing and L. Allan Griggs.