Flint City Council agrees to $20 million share of water crisis settlement

Two council members abstained and one voted against the proposal
Flint City Hall
Flint City Hall(WJRT)
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 11:13 AM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - After weeks of deliberation and seeking second opinions, the Flint City Council officially approved a $20 million contribution to the Flint water crisis settlement fund.

Council members voted 6-1 around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday to allow the city’s insurance carriers to contribute the $20 million into the proposed settlement fund, which currently stands at $641.2 million. Flint’s share will come from insurance companies and not taxpayer funds.

The Flint City Council also voted separately to approve a list of concerns that will be sent to U.S. District Judge Judith Levy, who plans to decide next month whether to approve the water crisis settlement. Council members are concerned that the state of Michigan isn’t contributing enough to the settlement.

Council members Eric Mays and Monica Galloway both abstained from the settlement vote while councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter cast the lone vote against accepting Flint’s share of the settlement. The council has been deliberating the settlement since November.

The $20 million from Flint will be added to $600 million from Michigan state government, $20 million from McLaren Flint Hospital and $1.2 million from Rowe Professional Services. The current settlement proposal calls for disbursing 80% of the funds to young children poisoned with lead in their drinking water.

If approved in federal court, the settlement would end hundreds of civil lawsuits involving thousands of current and former Flint residents or businesses over the water crisis. They sued after the city, which was under state control at the time, began drawing drinking water from the Flint River in April 2014.

The corrosive river water was not treated properly, which allowed it to eat away the protective lining on lead and galvanized water service lines. That allowed microscopic bits of lead or metal to break off the inside of the pipes and contaminate drinking water inside homes and businesses.

Other litigation against federal agencies and other contractors involved in the water switch remains to be settled.

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