According to Finance Director Jody Lundquist, the 1,800 shutoff notices will be making their way to Flint residents sometime this week. “We are applying shutoff notices in a fair and systematic way in which those billed on the first cycle will be issued notices first. We do understand that this situation has been out of the ordinary and could be confusing to some of our customers and therefore want to help them as best we can,” Lundquist said.
MLive reports the notices pertain to debts from bills “that have been issued since the city rolled back water and sewer rates to comply with an injunction issued by Genesee Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman.”
Judge Hayman’s injunction, city officials claim, is the main reason so many accounts have become overdue as it barred shutoffs where rates were “improperly adopted.” Hayman’s injunction stems from a class action lawsuit filed by Flint residents over the longstanding water issues facing the city, complimentary of Rick Snyder and his emergency manager Darnell Earley.
Earley, in the meantime, has attempted to pawn off his dismal decision to pull drinking water from the Flint River on local city officials, despite the city being under emergency management.
According to the city of Flint, the first round of overdue notices being sent represent a growing trend in the city, and for good reason. Some 60 percent of Flint’s water customers are currently overdue on their bills. The city is hoping that threatening residents already living in a dire situation due to government foul-up will be just the trick to reduce the growing number of outstanding bills residents are withholding.
Of course, these bills are being withheld due to citizens being provided with water that caused irreversible lead poisoning. Estimates for the repair of the water infrastructure could cost the state of Michigan as much as $1.5 billion.
The first bills the city of Flint is trying to collect on come from September, when bills were issued with adjusted rates in the wake of Hayman’s ruling. Any “improperly adopted” unpaid bills stemming from before Hayman’s ruling have been “frozen.” Payments made by Flint water customers on the improperly adopted bills preceding Hayman’s ruling are being applied to the new, properly adjusted bills, according to a statement issued by the city.
The properly adjusted bills first issued in September became overdue as of Oct. 11. Any overdue bills more than 30 days late result in shutoffs as per city policy. As of right now, residents have 10 days to pay their “properly adjusted” bills for poisoned, lead-filled water or else they will be disconnected.
Unfortunately for the city, residents, and the entire state of Michigan, this is a problem one will not simply be able to boil away anytime soon.
Link to original article from US Uncut