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Flint is giving its poorer residents a break on their water bills

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is reducing the water bills for its poorest residents.

Beginning July 1st, city homeowners who already qualify for Flint’s poverty exemption for property taxes will get a $53 break on their monthly water bills.  According to the city of Flint:

The exempt status alleviates the ready to use or “service charge” from a resident’s bill. For water and sewer service, that charge is currently a combined $53.78 each month for residential customers ($32.00 water, $21.78 sewer respectively). Homeowners who filed for a poverty tax exemption before the Board of Review in March 2013 and were approved and authorized by action of the Board will receive relief in July 2013; residents who file with the Board of Review in July or December will receive relief retroactive to July 1, 2013 in the form of credit (not a refund) to their account. This schedule will put the program in line with the City’s fiscal year. Those wishing for July exemption should apply each year in March.

“We certainly don’t want to shut off water to senior citizens. To people who have lived in the city their whole life. Paid their bills. Paid their taxes. And now they can’t afford their water,” says Ed Kurtz, Flint’s emergency manager.

Flint’s water rates have more than doubled in recent years.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public 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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