Higher water bills anger Flint residents - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Higher water bills anger Flint residents

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(10/28/11) - City of Flint water bills have gone up an average of 60 percent during the past year and residents on the south east side are speaking out. Several of them got together Friday to voice their displeasure.

It's not unusual for a monthly residential water bill in Flint to run $100 now. For people who are unemployed or on a fixed income, the higher payment is difficult to swallow.

"People are being forced to make decisions to pay their water bill, versus eating properly," said Bob Fagan of Flint.

Claude Miller agreed. "We're upset. Somebody needs to do something to change, to justify this kind of increase."

"When I called the water department and talked to the gentleman about why our rates are so high, he said everybody is upset," said Miller's wife Pat.

Flint City Council member Josh Freeman blames the problem on Detroit, which provides Flint with its water.    

"Every year, Detroit is giving up a 12-15 percent rate increase. They give us one time fees. We've got no choice. We don't have a money machine. What we have to do is pass those costs on to the residents and users in the city," said Josh Freeman, Flint City Council member.

Freeman says bond agencies require a specific amount of funds in the city's water account. Money was getting dangerously low.

"I feel the pain just like the rest of the residents do," Freeman said.

The group is also upset with what they call inconsistencies in their bills. One retired couple said they often pay water bills that are bigger than that paid by a family with children in the home.

"We would like to have some answers about our water bills," Georgia Patrick of Flint said.

"There's no trust. The trust is all gone. Forget it. Nobody believes anything they tell you," Fagan said.

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