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Flint City Council delays vote on GLWA agreement, defying state and mayor

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Flint City Council delayed a vote on the GLWA agreement at city hall onFriday.

Flint City Council is defying state and federal government officials, as well as the city’s mayor, and is putting off a voteon a drinking water contract for another two weeks.

A master agreement includes a provision that would tie the city of Flint to the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) for its drinking water for the next 30 years. Flint has been getting its tap water from GLWA since October, 2015, when it switched off the Flint River. 

City Council president Kerry Nelson says he still has questions about the agreement, especially since the council still doesn’t know much about future billing rates.

“They really want us to vote before we get that sheet, which is months down the road,” Nelson said, “It’s just not fair to this community.”

The GLWA contract was part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit involving Flint pastors, who were trying to force the state to deliver bottled water door to door in Flint.

State and federal government officials, as well as Flint’s mayor, have been pressuring the council to approve the agreement.

The state is threatening legal action if the city council doesn’t approve the agreement on Monday. 

In a letter received by Flint city officials today, Assistant Attorney General Richard Kuhl says “Any further delay by the City Council in approving that agreement or attempt to force a change in the water source will create an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public.”

The letter goes on to say the state plans to file a motion to enforce the settlement agreement in Concerned Pastors v Khouri.

But many on Flint City Council say they have been bullied into approving the GLWA contract.

“It reminds me that we’re going back to a day that I’m not comfortable with….that I’m not familiar with…but my grandparents were familiar. 'You do what I tell you and ask no questions," Nelson said.

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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