By Bill Laitner and Ann Zaniewski
State officials (click here) have decided to end the state-funded subsidies that since 2014 had helped Flint residents pay their water bills after the city's water system became contaminated with lead.
Word of the subsidies' impending cutoff surfaced Thursday after a senior adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder sent a letter to Flint’s interim chief financial officer, saying the subsidies will stop after Feb. 28, according to a news release from the City of Flint.
The reaction of Flint's mayor and other city officials was mild, characterizing the governor's decision as a sign that the city's water quality had improved although they stopped short of saying it was entirely safe. But vehement objections followed quickly from community leaders in Flint, as well as from critics of the state's role in the water crisis including prominent Democratic Party politicians. All said the cutoff of subsidies was premature, and some said it was an example of Snyder trying to downplay the seriousness of the crisis.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver issued a statement voicing concern at the abruptness of the cutoff but said it was a welcome sign that Flint's water is improving....
Everything about this Governor has been abrupt. The much needed repair of the cities water pipes has to be concluded in at least three years.
February 10, 2017
Flint — The state of Michigan (click here) plans to provide Flint residents with water filters and replacement cartridges for about three more years amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.
The Flint Journal reports the timeline was noted in a letter to a Flint official from Richard Baird, a senior adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder. The letter also gave the city notice that credits to ease the cost of Flint water bills will stop at the end of this month.
The filters and replacement cartridges will be provided as officials work to replace lead pipes and some other water service lines throughout Flint. The letter also said the state would continue to provide access to bottled water.
The city is looking to replace service lines at 6,000 homes this year....