Water worries, financial concerns take over Flint City Council meeting

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FLINT (WJRT) - (09/30/15) - It's easy to find people who want something done about Flint water. Figuring out what to do and who has the power to do it, is a different story.

That's what the Flint City Council and those in the audience found out at a Public Works Committee meeting, Wednesday night.

With lead showing up in Flint's water system, Councilman Eric Mays wanted to start the process of switching to Detroit water as soon as possible. However, council voted down his motion, saying their hands are tied.

City Administrator Natasha Henderson says it's the governor who has that call and there just isn't enough money without state help. Flint is currently waiting for Gov. Rick Snyder to deliver a plan to help resolve the water issue.

Water worries aside, Flint Chief Financial Officer Jody Lundquist also brought to the meeting a grim outlook for city finances.

"We're projected to run out of cash by the end of the fiscal year," she said.

According to Lundquist, the city is facing $8 million in unpaid water bills that can't be collected. That's because of a judge ruling in August that Flint illegally raised water rates 35 percent in 2011. She also told council more and more people aren't paying their bills.

With bills including the new, lower rates going out this month, Lundquist tells ABC12, Flint is projected to run a $14 million deficit by the end of the fiscal year in June.

"(It) inhibits our ability to address emerging issues such as the lead," she said.

It's an issue many hope the governor's plan will help tackle.

Public Works Director Howard Croft says his department will be ready to move forward.

"From a Public Works standpoint, we're evaluating every scenario, so we need to be prepared for whatever decision occurs. We're prepared to act immediately," he said.

Although many of the city's projects have been frozen as a result of financial concerns, Lundquist says construction of the KWA pipeline is a top priority. Flint is scheduled to hook up to the new line, which will pump water from Lake Huron, after it's completed in 2016.



 
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