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Flint city council approves short-term solution to long-term water source issue

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is proposing a possible solution to the city’s long-term tap water needs, or at least a longer short-term solution.

Last night, city council members voted to extend Flint’s current temporary contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority by two years. GLWA has been supplying Flint’s water for two years already.

Flint’s mayor and state officials have been pushing for a 30-year contract with GLWA. But city council members have balked at signing on to the deal. They are concerned the contract does not prevent Flint’s already high water rates from rising even higher.

The state sued to pressure the city council to agree to the contract. Last week, U.S. District Judge David Lawson gave the Flint city council until Monday to come up with a solution to the city’s long-term drinking water needs.

City councilman Herbert Winfrey believes the two-year deal will comply with the judge’s order.

“I’m hoping that he will see that as not a snubbing my nose at him but seeing it as a conforming to what he’s asked us to do,” Winfrey said after the meeting.

The Flint city council also voted to put off consideration of the 30-year GLWA deal for another month.

But Judge Lawson may have something to say about that. The judge is considering a motion by the city council to delay his order.  

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver filed a brief late yesterday. In the motion, the city’s attorney argues the proposed 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority is in the “best interest of public health because it ensures Flint’s continued access to safe and reliable finished drinking water.” 

Last night’s was the last scheduled Flint city council meeting before the November election. For at least two members of the council, it should have been their final meeting.  

But Councilman Eric Mays, the lone supporter of the proposed GLWA contract, warned them that may very well find themselves back in session later this week, if Judge Lawson decides they haven’t done enough to settle Flint’s water issues.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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