Flint threatens homeowners with foreclosure for unpaid water bills

Jackie Newman
Мая 6, 2017

Thousands of people in Flint, Michigan, still grappling with the effects of a lead-poisoned drinking water crisis could face tax liens and even foreclosure on their homes for unpaid water bills. "We have people who have made a conscious decision to switch over to this water source without proper treatment, and now they're threatening to kick us to the streets if we don't pay for it". Residents must purchase filters to reduce the lead in their water, and the city says it will be three more years before all of the city's lead pipes are replaced.

Last month, more than 8,000 residents were issued warnings for outstanding water bills. Once payments are missed on water or sewer accounts for more than six months, an ordinance requires the treasurer to transfer the lien to a homeowner's property tax bill. Thanks to a measure passed by the MI legislature, Flint residents previous year got discounts on their water bills, which are among the very highest in the nation.

"I told them there was no way I could pay this", said Huddleston of her January bill.

Last year, Flint was in the throes of the worst lead poisoning crisis in recent memory.

They might might not be able to drink the water from the tap, but they still have to pay for it.

This move comes after credits were cut off in February that would help the citizens of Flint pay for their water, after the city had declared that the lead levels in the water had gone down to a level that met federal regulation guidelines.

There are families and seniors facing water shutoffs and high bills. "I understand the concerns that have been raised and I am working to see if any changes or something can be done to help those affected by this, especially given the extraordinary circumstances we have endured due to the water crisis". "I wrote letters. I asked for an administrative review, but the day before the appointment, they called and said I couldn't get a meeting because their lawyers weren't there".

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Unfortunately, her story is similar to thousands of other residents who have to make the same hard and inhumane choice after suffering years of contaminated water.

"We are in a tough situation but customers were still using the water for other things like laundry and dishes", Mooney said.

The city, however, is in a bind.

More than 8,000 people received notices from the city informing them that they owe money if they wish to avoid having a lien placed on their homes, NBC 25 reports.

Mayor Karen Weaver said much the same in a statement Wednesday.

The letters came a few weeks after state officials ended a program that was paying the majority of their water bills.

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