After poisoning them with lead, Flint sends its citizens a message: ‘Your water bill is past due’

The city of Flint, Michigan has sent notices to residents who haven’t recently paid for their water services. Although every city collects money from their residents for water, not every city is in a state of emergency because their water is full of lead, like Flint.

The notice warns residents who have missed payments that their water will soon be cut off by the city. Flint issued notices to 1,800 accounts that have missed payments. More notices will likely be sent soon, as an estimated 60 percent of accounts are now overdue.

“We are applying shutoff notices in a fair and systematic way in which those billed on the first cycle will be issued notices first,” said Finance Director Jody Lundquist. “We do understand that this situation has been out of the ordinary and could be confusing to some of our customers and therefore want to help them as best we can.”

Flint has not been able to issue shutoff notices for several months because of an injunction caused by a pending lawsuit, unrelated to the lead crisis. Flint was accused of unjustly raising the price of its water, and a judge ruled that the city could not cut off services of overdue customers. With the injunction lifted, Flint decided it was time to make people pay for their poisonous water.

Flint attempted to save money and change their water supply from a Detroit source to the Flint River in early 2015. For months, Flint assured residents that although the water tasted and smelled odd,it was fine to use.

In October, Flint admitted that the water was incorrectly tested and contained high levels of lead, causing Flint children to develop lead poisoning. In December, a state of emergency was declared.

Customers who received an overdue notice have ten days to pay before their supply of lead-filled water is cut off. Residents who did not pay their September bills are now looking at having their virtually unusable water cut off first.

Featured image: Michigan governor Rick Snyder (Flickr)

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