Lawsuit alleging Flint's water rates are unlawful goes to judge
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
Roderic Morrell says with gas prices the way they are, filling up his Mustang so he can get to his job in Lansing is not cheap. Neither is his mortgage payment, car insurance and the overall costs of supporting his wife and three kids.
To make matters worse, he's paying a premium price for Flint water.
"Hey, hey, turn that water off," Roderic Morrell told TV5 when asked what he tells his children when they use the water.
Morrell said that's the reality right now. His water and sewer bill in January was $290.
Val Washington said he paid about $210 last December. He claims it's cheaper to buy water and put in his refrigerator rather than run the water from his tap. He also takes his showers at the gym to save from the increased cost.
"It's as though you're getting a tax bill every month," said Washington.
Washington is the attorney behind a lawsuit filed by Flint City Council President Scott Kincaid and other Flint residents. They're accusing the city of illegally raising water and sewer rates and using the money to help pay its bills.
"The money that is collected from water and sewer rates is supposed to be used solely to repair, maintain, operate or to pay debt service on water or sewer related entities or enterprises or operations, and that's not happening," said Washington.
Washington claims that not only is the city using the funds improperly, the city did not follow due process in increasing the rates. Since 2011, water rates in the city have jumped 110 percent. On Friday, he stated his case to Genesee County's Chief Circuit Judge.
"How is my Flint government operating and are they following the rules as they should be? They're not, and they need to be made to do so, because they aren't going to voluntarily," said Washington.
The judge did not make a decision of whether this lawsuit should move forward. TV5 got a hold of the city to get their take on this. Spokesperson Jason Lorenz said the city will not comment on pending litigation.
If this lawsuit is successful, Washington hopes it will slash water and sewer rate increases and refund of the increased amount the residents have paid since September 2011.
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