On Tuesday, I wrote a piece titled, “Wouldn’t it be outrageous if Flint was still billing its residents for water? Hah! Oh, wait. They are.” The sad truth is that, despite the ongoing crisis with lead-poisoned tap water in many Flint homes, the city has continued to bill customers for water.
Today we learn it’s actually worse than that. After taking a break for the holidays, Flint’s city government has resumed water shutoffs in homes behind on their water bills:
The city’s holiday break from water shutoff notices is over as officials say they will again start sending warnings to those behind on their bills.
Finance Director Jody Lundquist told the city’s Receivership Transition Advisory Board, which oversees the city’s finances, Wednesday, Jan. 13, that the city stopped sending water shutoff notices to city residents over the holiday season, but will begin issuing them again.
The break from notices was meant to give a reprieve from shutoffs to customers over the holiday season and lessen the burden on city staff.
It’s worth noting that Flint’s water rates are some of the highest in the country, almost eight times higher than the national average.
While not every home has lead in their water, every home HAS experienced myriad problems with their water since Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, now the EM for Detroit Public Schools switched the city over to the Flint River for its drinking water. E. coli bacteria contamination. Total trihalomethanes (a disinfectant by-product resulting from over-chlorination) in violation of the Clean Water Act. Excessively high in corrosive chloride levels. Water that’s brown, orange, or even blue, in some cases.
You could hardly blame people for tearing up their water bill in disgust and refusing to pay it.
Well, now they’ll either have to pay for the polluted water they’ve been forced to drink, cook with, shower and clean their homes with, and bathe their children in or have their water shut off completely.
If it weren’t so outrageous, you may be inclined to think that shutting their water off is a mercy considering the alternative.
[CC Photo credit: Michigan Municipal League (MML) | Flickr]