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State credits end this week on Flint water bills

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

This week,Flint residents will lose a state subsidy on their monthly water bills.

The state has spent more than $40 million subsidizing Flint’s water bills, as part of the response to the city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis. However, the governor’s office says the credits are ending this month because Flint’s water quality is improving.

The credits have helped many residents pay their water bills, which are extremely high compared to other cities. However, even with the state subsidy, only about 55% of Flint’s residential water customers are current on the bills. 

As Flint residents go back to paying 100% of their water bills, the number of delinquent accounts is expected to rise.

At this point, city officials have not set a date to begin disconnecting residential customers who fall behind on their bills. Under pressure from the state, Flint started following through with threats to disconnect commercial water customers. Now 98% of commercial water customers are current on their accounts. 

If collections go down, it will crimp the city’s ability to continue paying for water from Detroit and make payments as part of the city’s contract for the KWA pipeline. Customers with delinquent accounts are also not eligible to have old pipes replaced. Those pipes are a major source of lead.

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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