The Mayor of Flint, Michigan announced Wednesday that the city will stop sending water bills to residents who have been receiving water tainted with lead.
Mayor Karen Weaver said the move was to enable bill adjustments to be made under a state reimbursement program.
BREAKING: Flint mayor suspends water bills https://t.co/rMm9xVIQLX
— Dave Bondy (@DaveBondyTV) March 9, 2016
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a $30 million budget supplemental on February 26 to reimburse Flint residents who have received lead-contaminated water. The contamination began in April 2014 when the city changed its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The river water is corrosive and causes lead to leach into the water supply.
Flint is currently under a public health State of Emergency.
The state payment assistance also helps those who fell behind on their water bills, including late fees, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
The mayor’s office released a statement Wednesday:
While staff is working to make necessary adjustments, including obtaining the proper computer programs needed to calculate and apply adjustments and credits to the city’s more than 85,000 active and inactive utility accounts on record from April 2014 to present, Mayor Weaver has ordered that mailing of bills be suspended.
Mayor Weaver also stated that the credits are on their way and that residents “should not have to pay for water they cannot and are not using.”
Last month, consumer rights group Food and Water Watch released a report stating that Flint’s public water provider was the most expensive in the U.S. as of January 2015.
The average yearly bill for a Flint resident was more than double the national average, according to BuzzFeed News.