EPA encourages Flint to spend federal money it was awarded - WNEM TV 5

EPA encourages Flint to spend federal money it was awarded

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Millions of dollars in federal money was designated to help Flint recover from the water crisis, but now the government wants to know why Flint is taking so long to spend the money.

"The water crisis didn't happen overnight and it's not going to be fixed overnight either," Flint City Councilman Santino Guerra said.

Guerra is speaking out on what he feels needs to happen next as the city continues to deal with its water crisis.

"I know we've been going over plans. I know we were able to get more money since we all agreed to go with the long term water source. One of the things we're trying to focus on is getting new water meters so that water rates can be more reasonable and not have these high water bills," Guerra said.

While Guerra said council members and Mayor Karen Weaver are working together to move their plan along, the Environmental Protection Agency wants them to move a little faster.

The EPA sent the city a letter urging them to start spending the money they were awarded.

In March the city was given $100 million in federal funds and $20 million in state funds to combat the water crisis. Out of the $120 million made available, the EPA said only $11 million in federal funds and less than $200,000 in state funds have been touched.

Guerra said the delay in spending could be partly because of a new city council.

"We don't want to make rash decisions and then let it mess up in a few years. Want to make sure everything that's being done is sturdy for residents long term," Guerra said.

The city can't just take the money either. They have to submit a plan first and detail where the money is going, which Guerra said could take a while.

TV5 reached out to Weaver, but she was not available for comment.

However, last week she addressed the letter saying all of the requirements and information requested by the EPA is expected to come out by early January.

Guerra said as city leaders iron out plans for the future of Flint's water, he believes taking their time will benefit folks in the long run.

"I think it's reasonable. There's a lot of money being put out and people want to know where it's going. It's not a good idea to not know what you're doing with your money," Guerra said.

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