(EnviroNews World News) — Flint, Michigan — In an stunning turn of events, the city of Flint, Michigan has resumed collections on residents who either can’t pay their water bill, or who refuse to pay, following revelations in October of 2015 that the city’s water supply had been poisoned by lead.
Flint had taken a pause over the holidays from issuing collection notices to give residents a break and to lighten the load for the city’s staff. But the holiday season is over, and apparently, so is Flint’s Christmas spirit, as Finance Director Jody Lundquist, announced on Wednesday, Jan. 13, the city would be resuming collections, effective immediately.
Interestingly, the city had been ordered to stop sending shutoff notices following an unrelated lawsuit and emergency injunction after Flint was charged with illegally transferring over $15 million to cover another lawsuit, wherein the city had been sued for sewage overflow.
In addition to Flint’s yuletide cheer having dried up, that injunction has been lifted now, giving the city a clear path to collect — and leaving Flint officials eager to hold people’s feet to the fire over delinquent water bills.
Flint has been on the verge of bankruptcy for years and badly needs revenue, but attempting to collect for water that was poisoning people’s children with neurotoxic lead is sparking new anger, in a city already enraged and reeling from negligent decisions made by state-appointed officials.
In 2013, Flint almost went down completely in financial flames, leading to a takeover of the city’s affairs by Governor Rick Snyder by way of appointed emergency managers — and it was those same managers who are being blamed for causing Flint’s poisoned-water crisis to begin with.
Local citizens have been furious, as children and nearly the entire population at large, had been unknowingly consuming the lead tainted water for months. Lead poisoning causes myriad health problems and affects multiple organ systems, but for many, what is most concerning is lead’s toxicity to the central nervous system. Consumption of the heavy metal can lead to permanent brain damage in children, causing lowered IQs, cognitive impediments, and an array of learning disabilities.
Local news outlets have been demanding Governor Snyder relinquish “executive privilege” and turn over all emails, documents and transmissions on the Flint matter, and divulge exactly what he knew and when he knew it, without further ado.
Emails obtained by NBC News suggest that Snyder was aware of concerns over Flint’s water quality as early as last July, but the Administration chose to placate those concerns, and it was not until six months later that a state of emergency was declared.
Flint residents and people across the board are boiling mad with the Governor, calling for his immediate impeachment and arrest. Legendary singer and actress Cher even went so far as to refer to Snyder as a “murderer,” and called for his execution by “firing squad.”
While some have said executing Governor Snyder by firing squad might be a bit much, others are saying it seems like a bit much for Flint to demand residents pay for any of the lead riddled water — toxic H2O that may have already given them, and their children, slowly unfolding, lifelong health consequences.
Considering the population’s sensitivity, and the volatile situation on the ground in Flint at the moment, maybe now is not such a good time for the city to be playing Guido, the hit-man mob collector, over past-due water bills. Ya’ think?