More than 8,000 Flint, Michigan, residents have received notices from the city saying that if they did not want a lien placed on their homes, they would have to pony up money owed for their water bills.
This would be totally logical if the water was actually drinkable (without the use of a filter.)
Flint was the site of one of the worst water crises in the country’s history, when it was revealed that the city water supply was contaminated with bacteria and lead.
The New York Daily News reports that those targeted by the city owe at least six months of back bills and that they must pay by May 19 or possibly lose their homes via foreclosure.
“Flint families should not have to pay for water that they still cannot drink,” said Rep. Dan Kildee in a statement, “and they certainly should not lose their homes over this ongoing water crisis that was caused by the callous decisions of state government.”
“I got scared, for probably the first time since this all started this actually scared me,” said Melissa Mays, who is a mother and water activist who lives in Flint. NBC 25 reports that though Mays is theoretically opposed to paying for the unclean water, says she will pay the bill so that she can keep her house.
The city of Flint claims it desperately needs the funds and that if every bill got paid, it would generate nearly $6 million.
“We have to have revenue coming in, so we can’t give people … water at the tap and not get revenue coming in to pay those bills,” said Al Mooney, City of Flint Treasury Department.
Rep. Kildee also called out Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for phasing out water subsidies in February.