LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is sticking by a decision to end state-funded credits on customers’ water bills in Flint.
Snyder says he and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver had a “constructive” meeting Tuesday, but he reaffirmed that the credits will last through February because the water’s lead level is no longer above a federal limit. Residents are still using filters.
Weaver, who did not speak with reporters after the meeting at Snyder’s office, had criticized eliminating the credits that apply retroactively to 2014 and after. City officials argued that the credits — which cover roughly two-thirds of the water portion of residential water/sewer bills — should last until the water is safe to drink without a filter.
The move will save the state more than $2 million per month.
Weaver is holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the next steps for Flint.
Flint’s water emergency began when lead from old underground lines leached into the water supply because corrosion-reducing phosphates were not added due to an incorrect reading of federal regulations by state regulators. Elevated levels of lead, a neurotoxin, were detected in children, and 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that experts suspect was linked to the improperly treated water.
Michigan has allocated $253 million toward resolving the emergency. Criminal charges have been brought against 13 current or former government officials, including two emergency managers who were appointed by Snyder to run the city. The Republican governor is asking the GOP-led Legislature for nearly $49 million for the next budget year for more filter cartridges, continued health and other services, and to bolster a reserve fund for future needs such as lead pipe replacements.
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