February 15, 2017 (FLINT, Mich) — Mayor Karen Weaver stood with members of her administration today to address reporters at Flint City Hall. Weaver called the press briefing after she and Flint’s interim Chief Financial Officer, David Sabuda, met with Governor Snyder Tuesday where the key topic of discussion was Snyder’s decision to stop issuing water credits to Flint utility customers at the end of this month.
“I really wanted the governor to know what a help the credits have been,” said Weaver. “They’ve helped Flint residents financially and also given them some relief emotionally because many people don’t feel they should have to pay for the water at all until it’s deemed safe to drink without a filter. I wanted him to know that I was disappointed to hear of his decision to end the water credits and to also stop helping with the city’s monthly payment to the Great Lakes Water Authority. We were hoping this assistance would remain in place until at least March 31, so we thought we had more time to prepare.”
Mayor Weaver said Snyder was unwavering in his decision and refused to extend the financial assistance for the credits to the citizens and the City of Flint.
“The governor feels he has fulfilled his obligation,” Weaver explained. “He stated that Flint’s water now meets the same quality standards as other communities in Michigan and meets the federal quality standards and in his opinion the water is good. And I told him that I disagree.”
A senior advisor to the governor sent Flint city officials a letter last week to inform them the credits currently being applied to the water portion of Flint utility customers’ accounts will no longer be provided after February 28, 2017. State officials note the latest 6-month cycle of water testing that had results below the federal action level for the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) and cite the results as reason for discontinuing the credits. Therefore, the March billing statements customers receive will be the last bills that include the state water relief credits of 20% for commercial accounts and 65% for residential.
Officials say more than $40,400,000 in water relief credits will have been applied to the accounts of Flint water system customers by the end of the program, but Mayor Weaver says that’s still not enough. She feels the state should be more willing to continue to help the people of Flint who are still dealing with the ongoing effects of the man-made water disaster.
“The state has a billion dollars in its rainy day fund,” said Weaver. “We certainly appreciate the help that has already been provided, but we are not out of the woods yet. We haven’t been told the water is okay to drink without a filter. In the spring the FAST Start pipe replacement program will be going full force and we know that could cause lead particles to get in the water.” Weaver acknowledged that lead issues have been discovered in other communities. However, she stressed that the situation in Flint is different. Lead began leaching into Flint’s water supply after a state-appointed emergency manager switched the City’s water source to the Flint River without making sure the proper corrosion control chemicals were being added.
“We didn’t cause this situation yet we are working hard to recover from it,” Weaver said. “We want to be self-sufficient and we will be.”
Weaver said she and her team will continue efforts to monitor the water and improve the water quality. Crews working with the FAST Start initiative to replace lead-tainted pipes leading to homes in Flint are expected to begin working full-time in March. The mayor has set a goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year.
Customers with financial hardships who may need help paying their water/sewer bill should call the Customer Service Center at (810) 766-7015, or come to Flint City Hall to discuss payment options with a representative in person.