Flint closer to making decision on drinking water - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint closer to making decision on future drinking water

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(01/24/13) - It's a decision that's been years in the making - where will Flint get its water for the next several years?

The city must choose between renewing its contract with Detroit or jumping on board a multi-county plan to build a new pipeline, which some say could be a big boost to the local economy and a money saver.

Flint's Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz wouldn't say which direction they're leaning, if any. But he did say he wants to see both the county and the city on the same water system.    

When you flip a faucet in the city of Flint, your water traveled a ways to get there. Right now, the city and county gets their drinking water from Detroit. But a multi-county project wants to keep it local, and build a pipeline to Lake Huron.

"We're paying way too much for water, we want to bring the cost down," said Jeff Wright, Genesee County Drain Commissioner.

He says in 2001, the total bill for water from Detroit was $6 million. Last year, the bill was $26 million, for the same amount of water.

"Those millions are shipped to another community where they're used. I want to keep that money here and be used in our theaters, our car dealers, our restaurants, etc," Wright said.

The project includes Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac counties; total, it'll cost $274 million.

Now, Flint needs to decide if it wants on board. Kurtz says they'll meet with the Michigan Department of Treasury next Monday, and hopefully make a decision in the next few weeks.

"We are as anxious as everyone else to get this off our plate and get a decision made and move onto some of the other issues," Kurtz said.

The county says the pipeline could save residents $600 million over the next 25 years.

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