Report: Mayor-elect Neeley wants out of Great Lakes Water Authority contract
(11/8/2019) - Mayor-elect Sheldon Neeley wants to switch who provides the city's drinking water when he takes office.
Neeley is looking for ways to end a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit and enter a new deal with the Karegnondi Water Authority.
Neeley's comments came during an interview with WKAR's "Off The Record" show recorded by the PBS station in Lansing.
Flint received water from Detroit for decades until the city disconnected and began drawing drinking water from the Flint River in April 2014. Problems with the switch and improperly treated water led to the Flint water crisis.
The Flint River was supposed to be a temporary source while Genesee County completed the Karegnondi pipeline through Lapeer and St. Clair counties to draw its own water from Lake Huron. It began operation in the fall of 2017.
Flint had a 30% ownership stake in the Karegnondi Water Authority and was responsible for 30% of its costs before pulling out. Flint is now the only local government in Genesee County connected to Detroit water.
Former Gov. Rick Snyder's administration helped broker a short-term deal to reconnect Flint to the Detroit water system when effects of the water crisis became clear.
Outgoing Mayor Karen Weaver pushed for a long-term deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority, which the Flint City Council approved with a split 5-4 vote in November 2017.
Neeley believes switching to the Karegnondi pipeline could reduce costs for residents while providing equal or better quality water,