Flint water activists petition city for permanent ban on shutoffs

Flint water activist Clair McClinton shows off petitions urging the city to ban water shutoffs...
Flint water activist Clair McClinton shows off petitions urging the city to ban water shutoffs and provide rate relief.(source: WJRT)
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:08 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Several Flint water activists are hoping for a permanent ban on water shutoffs and advocating for a water affordability plan after petitioning more than 500 residents across the city.

The activists voiced their message and concerns in front of Flint City Hall on Tuesday. They say the effort is all about justice for residents in the city of Flint.

”We pay the highest rates in the nation for water, and we need a water affordability plan yesterday,” said Clair McClinton, a Flint water activist.

The small but mighty crowd brought a big message to the Flint City Council and Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

“They’re looking for some relief from these oppressive water rates,” McClinton said. “The other petition we have is to ban water shutoffs permanently.”

But the spoken word only goes so far. It’s why these petitions have the signatures of more than 500 residents from all nine wards in the city wanting justice, change and restoration of trust.

“We have watched and seen millions and millions of dollars come into this town and never reached the residents,” McClinton said.

Neeley said he’s not opposed to the activists’ message of making water ore affordable for Flint residents.

“I have not cut anyone’s water off due to lack of payments since I’ve been here for almost two years now,” he said. “This kind of thing probably should have been done many years ago.”

As for the water affordability plan, Neeley said the city is involved in an affordability study that eventually will determine a flat rate for water that all residents would pay. But he could not give a specific time frame for how soon that could come to fruition.

“We have a commodity. Commodities cost. But what is that cost going to be, and what’s going to be fair and affordable to residents inside the city of Flint?” Neeley said.

Activists hope the signed petitions will get the attention of Neeley and city council members so the two goals will become city ordinances. Many residents and water activists plan to attend upcoming council meetings to address the petitions.

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