Flint homeowners relieved of water liens; businesses, renters still on the hook

Published: May. 10, 2019 at 5:26 PM EDT
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(5/10/2019) - It was a mistake.

The City of Flint said water lien notices sent out last week should've never been mailed.

But, the Genesee County Treasurer said that's only for some people in the community.

Deb Cherry explained if you rent or own commercial property, that lien has to be taken care of.

But, she said, if you own your home, you shouldn't have received the lien and don't have to worry about it.

"We don't want people that are living in their own home, you know, have a family, that they have to worry about the fact that whether or not the water is good enough to drink. Obviously, there's still a water emergency on and until that water emergency is lifted, that's really what my position is - that we will not take those water liens," Cherry said.

She was surprised the liens were sent out to homeowners in Flint. Because Cherry said she met with City officials last week and they agreed they wouldn't mail them out.

The lien notice gives the County the right to possess a person's home until they pay the money owed.

The Treasurer said the scare has resulted in an influx of calls.

One from Florlisa Stebbins. Her letter said she owes more than $300; and, it's due by the end of the month.

As a single mother, Stebbins said she couldn't afford to pay that.

The majority of her bank account goes to medical bills to pay for health issues she said her family is dealing with as a result of the poisoned water.

"You know, we've been through enough in between the water crisis and other things that have gone on in this City," Stebbins said. "And, to now go through this and it's more than a burden. It's beyond that at this point."

Stebbins is grateful it was a mistake; but she said she would like to know how much the mistake cost the City.

In a statement, the Mayor's Office simply explained "A letter was sent out in error, Mayor Weaver will not be enforcing water liens, nor will water liens be sent to the County."