Court-ordered talks lead to breakthrough on Flint water

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DETROIT (WJRT/AP) (11/20/17) - The Flint City Council is expected to support a 30-year agreement to get drinking water from a regional agency after an afternoon of court-ordered negotiations.

The deal means the Great Lakes Water Authority would continue to serve Flint. It has been providing water since fall 2015 when Gov. Rick Snyder acknowledged a lead crisis related to the city's use of the Flint River.

The council is expected to vote Tuesday night. Mayor Karen Weaver already is on board.

Under the deal, a Flint resident would be appointed to the governing board of the Great Lakes Water Authority. The city would also be relieved of debt payments owed to the Karegnondi Water Authority.

All sides worked with a mediator Monday under orders by Detroit federal Judge David Lawson.

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(11/20/2017/WJRT) - A decision regarding Flint's water source could be made anytime Monday evening after numerous extensions from a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson has ordered the issue be taken under advisement.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, members of the Flint City Council were in mediation over the matter. They were locked in Detroit's federal courthouse while the public was locked out.

Various rooms inside district court specifically say they're reserved for Lawson Monday afternoon. Representatives for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Water Authority were in the building with the Flint City Council and the city's legal counsel.

Earlier in the afternoon, attorneys from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality presented arguments to Lawson in favor of authorizing Mayor Karen Weaver to sign the 30-year-deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority without the council's approval.

Flint City Council members vehemently opposed that, saying that that amount of authority is unconstitutional under the city charter. They pointed out the city has other options for a water supply, but they haven't had time to properly research their options independently.

During a special meeting Monday morning, council members said they wanted one more week and would make a decision by Nov. 27 of what will be the city's permanent water source.

Lawson essentially rejected that option and sent all the parties into mediation at the courthouse, leading to the stalemate into the evening.

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