Following mayor’s plea, Flint city council discusses secondary water source again
(04/22/20) - The people of Flint are still without a secondary water source six years after the water crisis started.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley warned Tuesday that city council failing to award a contractor to build the water system is gambling with the city's future. He asked them to reconsider.
Wednesday, during an electronic committee meeting, council met for the first time since Neeley’s public urging. Some council members chose to discuss the topic again following public comments. Councilman Herbert Winfrey was not present for that portion of the meeting.
Those who disagree with the construction of the secondary water system say the timing isn't right and the proposal on the table isn't good enough.
“I don't think that it's time for the city to be voting on or reconsidering a $14 million dollar pipe,” said a Flint resident.
$14.7 million dollars was the lowest bid by Macomb County's L D'Agostini & Sons to build a secondary water system for the City of Flint. Neeley says the project would use federal money that was allocated to Flint for the water crisis.
While the city is trying to move forward with water crisis recovery and in the middle of COVID-19, a few Flint residents called in to Wednesday night’s committee meeting to voice their displeasure with the timing and D'Agostini's legal past.
Representatives of D'Agostini also called in to say they're a reputable company and they are ready to move forward.
"I think that this project should go [forward]. We were low bid by I think over $2 million, so if there's any issues with our integrity or anything about our work history, we've been around for over 50 years,” said Keith McLean, legal counsel for D’Agostini.
But Councilman Allan Griggs said his reason for voting no, if the measure is reconsidered Monday, is because this is not a legal state or federal backup water source.
“KWA is not a legal backup water source for Flint. GLWA (Great Lakes Water Authority) itself doesn't even have a backup water supply,” Griggs said.
Council President Monica Galloway tells ABC12 that she is still doing research and hasn't decided. However, councilpersons Davis, Guerra, Fields and Worthing have publicly said they would vote yes again as they did on April 13. The vote at that time was tied 4-4. Councilman Winfrey was not in attendance during that vote.
Worthing warned of federal fines should city council fail to act.
“This is something we agreed to when we signed the GLWA contract. I voted no, but since it's in motion, this is something we have to do,” Worthing said.
Council is set to meet again electronically on Monday when the water system construction project could be reconsidered. We'll let you know what happens then.