Flint gets state approval to join KWA pipeline, cut ties with Detroit
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
With a stoke of a pen, Flint officials have signed off on a plan to get their water from a new supply.
Flint has gotten the go-ahead for a new water line, once again rejecting Detroit's last-ditch offer. The new water line is expected to help drive down the high water costs businesses and residents must pay.
"It's kind of rough on us, all the local businesses, everything," said Mason Heidger, an employee at Flint Crepe Company who is commenting on water prices.
People like Heidger and other Flint residents say the price of water is hard to swallow.
"We use the water to make the batter, to make the coffee, to get water, we have an ice machine in the back, so water everywhere," said Heidger.
On Tuesday, city officials believed signing on to a new water source will help cut some of the ridiculous water costs.
"We'll be able to control our own destiny, we'll be able to control our own costs, and we'll be able to pass those savings on to our residents of the city of Flint," said Flint City Council President Scott Kincaid.
Kincaid sat next to Flint's Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz as Kurtz signed the agreement with the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline project. Kurtz said he has done a lot of number crunching, and Tuesday afternoon, he got the OK from the Michigan Department of Treasury to sign the deal.
"It's going to be huge. I can't emphasize enough that in 25 years, we will own a water system," said Kurtz.
The new pipeline will span from Port Huron to Genesee County and will supply water to five communities along the way, including Shiawassee County, Lapeer County and Genesee County, along with the cities of Lapeer and as of Tuesday, Flint. Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright, who has been behind this project since the start, believes Flint and the state made the right decision.
"The first year this comes online, Flint will realize a $2 to $4 million savings," said Wright.
A savings many residents say they look forward to in the long term.
"Hopefully it'll be a better thing for Flint. I hope so," said Flint resident Dana Harris.
The water from the Karegnondi Water Authority will be untreated and will cause the Flint Water Plant to go back online. City leaders believe that will create additional jobs and will also entice businesses to move to Flint with the price of water driven down.
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