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Flint pastors thank lawmakers for water crisis funds, but say more help is needed

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Beneath the state Capitol dome, Flint pastors raise their hands to the heavens in prayer.

A small group of Flint pastors came to the state Capitol today to thank lawmakers for approving more money for Flint.

“We thank you Lord for the resources that have been allocated for Flint,” one of the pastors intoned beneath the Capitol dome around noon.

The pastors and others prayed in a small circle in the Capitol rotunda, the day after lawmakers approved $165 million for Flint’s water crisis. 

Reverend Ira Edwards calls the money “patchwork," but says he’s glad to see lawmakers moving forward.

“We’ve at least gotten to this point, and that’s why we say we want to thank them,” says Edwards, “It’s not about the bottom line all the time.”

Among other things, the money approved this week includes $25 million to install new service lines, which are a main source for lead leeching into Flint’s drinking water.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver had a mixed reaction to the funding package.

“While the $25 million allocated for my FAST Start program to replace lead-tainted pipes in Flint is less than half the amount needed, I’m grateful that lawmakers have directed $165 million more to help Flint,” Weaver said in a written statement after the vote. “I encourage lawmakers to continue to address the education, health, economic and infrastructure needs in Flint caused by this man-made disaster.”

Many people in Flint are concerned about the crisis remaining a priority. 

Edwards is worried the focus on Flint’s needs may blur before the work is done.

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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