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Flint mayor and council members hopeful lead pipe replacement will move forward without more delays

Flint City Council will discuss the lead replacement program on Wednesday during Finance Committee meeting
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 11:05 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (04/06/2021) - Flint’s FAST Start pipe replacement program is being held up once again.

In 2017, a court order required lead pipes in the city’s water system be replaced. The project was supposed to be finished by the end of 2019, but now in April 2021, it’s still not done.

“We’re at the finish line. To be stalled is irresponsible,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.

Neeley says there are fewer than 500 service lines left and is pushing city council to take action soon.

Flint’s service line replacement project has been paid with state and federal dollars, digging up more than 26,000 service lines.

“It was already woefully behind when we came on board, but now we’re at the threshold. We need to get this done, and so, we’re hoping and praying that City Council completes this,” Neeley said.

Neeley says City Council needs to vote approve the contracts with Rowe Professional Services to finish the job. The Mayor says ‘”petty politics” are getting in the way.

First Ward Councilman, Eric Mays says it’s his job to ask questions to Rowe, which is seeking a $500,000 contract to finish checking and replacing the lead water service lines.

Even so, he says this program must move forward.

”I think the pressure of the weather and the season has a lot to do with those council votes as well, but it’s not just the council. It’s the administration and the council. I don’t want people pointing the finger wrongfully at one branch of government versus the other. It’s enough blame to go around,” Mays said.

On the agenda for Wednesday’s Finance Committee Meeting is Mays’ special order to discuss and ask questions about the lead replacement program.

Council Vice President Maurice Davis says, “Let’s get it done immediately.”

“It’s frustrating to see a delay on something that’s this detrimental to this community and all that we’ve been through, and this body, City Council is delaying it. That should never happen,” Davis said.

If the finance committee decides to bring the vote to council, approval from City Council can happen as soon as Monday’s meeting.

The pipe replacement program is free to residents.

You can still have your service line checked for lead by submitting a consent form on the city’s website.

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