[paypal_donation_button]FLINT, MI – Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says recent controversy between the state and the mayor over water credits is a distraction.
Weaver held a press conference Monday, Feb. 20 to address claims that she knew about the state’s decision to end water credits nearly two months before she notified the public and Flint City Council.
“We’re losing focus,” Weaver said during the Feb. 20 press conference in the lobby of Flint City Hall. “We’re losing focus of the real issue. That’s what the state wants us to do and not hold them accountable…We’re arguing among ourselves instead of being upset with the state for ending the credits earlier than they initially told us.”
Weaver was responding to a comment made by Gov. Snyder’s top adviser, Richard Baird, saying the state told the city’s financial director, David Sabuda, about their intent to end water relief credits on December 12.
On Feb. 9, Weaver’s office issued a statement announcing their disappointment in the state’s decision to end water relief credits to Flint utility customers and to stop paying a $1.2 million bill to Great Lakes Water Authority.
After a meeting with Snyder over the issue, Weaver reiterated her disappointment and said the state giving Flint a two-week notice.
State officials say the city knew well be two weeks.
“The CFO was notified on Dec. 12 that this was going to happen as soon as the water was judged good to drink,” Baird said a Feb. 17 meeting. “The real purpose of that letter was to provide some comfort that bottled water was going to continue, the pods were going to continue the states commitment to working with the city and digging up the lead lines and replacing all the lead was going to continue and the faucet program was going to continue.”
Baird said the city was also notified of the state’s decision on Jan. 24, Feb. 6 and a formal letter was sent on Feb. 7.
Snyder signed the water relief act on Feb. 26, 2016 giving residential utility customers a 65 percent credit on their water bills. Commercial customers received a 20 percent credit.
State officials say their reason for ending the credits and to stop paying Flint’s bill is because of January Department of Environmental Quality reports saying Flint’s water tested below the federal action for the Lead and Copper Rule of 15 parts per billion. Results showed Flint at 8 ppb.
Even though Flint’s test came in lower than the federal action level, residents have still been advised to use filters on their faucets.
According to the water relief act the state would provide credits and pay GLWA until the water was deemed safe to drink or March 31.
Both Flint officials and the state both agree that the test results have improved but Weaver says the water isn’t safe until residents do not need filters in their homes.
“This is a trust issue, Weaver said. “State officials say one thing and then do another…lets hold the state accountable for what we deserve.”
Water credits will end Feb. 28 for Flint utility customers.