Snyder plans $195M in new aid for Flint in budget plan

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected Wednesday to propose $195 million in new aid to help deal with Flint’s contaminated water problem when he presents his proposed state budget for next year.

Some money in the governor’s plan is expected to be targeted at infrastructure issues in Flint, though the Snyder administration wouldn’t confirm an amount.

State officials say the budget recommendations will play a “substantial” role in Flint’s recovery that ensures safe drinking water, but also tackles infrastructure, health and educational concerns caused when corrosive water from the Flint River caused lead to leach into the city’s drinking water. The Republican governor will make his pitch for Flint assistance Wednesday in a more than $55 billion state budget presentation.

“Gov. Snyder is committed to Flint, and his budget recommendation calls for actions that will strengthen families and the city as a whole,” spokesman David Murray said Tuesday. “The goal is to prevent problems from ever happening in the city again and also address potential problems that could arise as a result of lead exposure.”

The total budget figure for Flint, state officials said, is $232 million when the $37 million already approved by the Legislature is included. If the Legislature signs off, some of the new money that the Republican governor will propose Wednesday will be included in a larger supplemental budget bill for this fiscal year to be used right away.

The funds in the plan also aim to help Flint children through programs for nutrition, increased testing and monitoring and educational support.

The governor’s proposal will come one day after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver unveiled her $55 million plan to replace the city’s lead pipes that she hopes would begin within a month.

Murray said Weaver’s plan is under review. The state is working with officials from Flint, the University of Michigan-Flint and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “study old maps and handwritten city records to create digital maps to determine the location of pipes,” he said.