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Flint water service line replacement on hold over contract issue

Activists say residents are suffering after Flint City Council members did not approve an extension with the contractor
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - With the finish line in sight, the project of replace all of the lead or galvanized water pipes in Flint has hit a snag.

After a marathon meeting on Monday, the Flint City Council postponed an effort to investigate and replace the remaining 500 service lines. That move is not sitting well with Flint water and community activists.

Pastor Chris Martin with the Unity Coalition of Pastors and Flint water advocate Clair McClinton both say it’s the residents and businesses that are suffering because of the council’s action. They hope council members can come together and do the right thing -- and soon.

”We would tell the city council the same thing we would tell the mayor, the state Legislature and the federal government and that is to fix Flint and do whatever you can do restore our ability to have clean, affordable water,” McClinton said.

Flint City Council members have repeatedly postponed approval of a contract with Rowe Professional Services, which is overseeing the completion of the project. The company advised the city Tuesday that it is halting work for lack of a contract extension to continue.

The exact reasoning as to why the contract hasn’t been approved isn’t known, as all city council members were been in a budget meeting all day Wednesday.

The city says the 500 lines remaining to be investigated or replaced are spread throughout the city. Mayor Sheldon Neeley has pledged to have the entire project completed by the end of this year.

Martin pointed out that the city will be receiving more money from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan. His concern is how council will handle the influx of funding.

“Council is really going to have to take care of business of the city,” Martin said. “Six or seven-hour meetings with no action agenda items being voted on is just not conducive to moving the city forward. There are millions of dollars coming in here thanks to President Biden and they’re really going to have to work with the mayor to get things moving.”

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