Flint mayor optimistic feds will provide emergency aid

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Flint’s mayor said she is trying to be optimistic about receiving federal funding to help resolve the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis after Gov. Rick Snyder visited Friday.

“We need some finances coming here,” Mayor Karen Weaver told The Detroit News Friday evening at the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview.

Weaver said last week it could cost as much as $1.5 billion to replace aging and damaged pipes leaching lead into city water.

Snyder went to a water distribution site and met with officials and pastors who talked about what they would like to see happen in the city to fix the crisis, Weaver said.

Snyder had a series of private meetings with city and community leaders to discuss the state’s response to the crisis, the governor’s spokesman, David Murray, told The News. He also talked about the request for federal aid.

Weaver said she was glad Snyder reached out to President Barack Obama to request federal emergency status. He’s seeking $96 million to repair damaged lead service lines on private property, pay for 90 days of water and a year’s worth of filters and other supplies.

“They need to make Flint a priority,” she said of state and federal officials. “We deserve some resources and support. This is a catastrophe. We didn’t deserve this.”

Weaver said Friday 140 state workers have been working to ensure residents have water filters. State police and others have been going door to door to deliver the filters as well as bottled water to residents.

Snyder stopped at one of the fire stations where residents can get water and filters to thank volunteers, firefighters and members of the National Guard who are distributing supplies and going door to door, Murray said. He spoke with several people who came to the station to pick up water and filters.

Weaver said it’s unclear who will be financially responsible for paying household water bills for contaminated water, but the city does not plan to start water shutoffs It is unclear who will be financially responsible for household water bills.

“It’s difficult when people are paying for water they can’t use,” she said.

Weaver took office in November after defeating incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling.

Weaver said she’s found support from those attending the charity gala at Cobo Center.

“It’s helped to boost morale and our spirits,” she said. “We’re moving forward.”

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2311

Detroit News Staff Writers Mark Hicks and Jonathan Oosting contributed.