Just when you thought the residents of Flint, Michigan — over half of whom are black, and more than 41 percent of which live below the poverty line — had suffered enough, the city is reportedly threatening them with gargantuan unpaid water bills.
Uproxx reports Flint has delivered tax lien notices to more than 8,000 residents, and they have until May 19 to pay overdue water bills for a timeframe of six months or more.
In case you need a refresher, the city declared a state of emergency in 2015 for a contaminated water source due to high levels of lead. A harrowing timeline of the Flint Water Crisis can be found here.
If the residents don't pay, they may have to give up their homes.
"I got scared — for probably the first time since this all started this actually scared me," Melissa Mays, a water activist who lives in Flint, said to NBC 25.
She has to chalk up nearly $900 by the deadline. Otherwise, a lien will be enforced on her property.
According to NBC 25, the bills will generate around $6 million in revenue if each one is recompensed. The city is hurting for money, so leaders are hoping the liens will elicit quick payments by the residents.
"We have to have revenue coming in, so we can't give people revenue — I mean excuse me, give people water at the tap — and not get revenue coming in to pay those bills," said Al Mooney, City of Flint Treasury Department.
Seems like an unfair scare tactic employed for a troubling reason: the massive loss of funding, which is in no way the fault of the residents.
Congressman Dan Kildee issued a statement on the matter today:
"Flint families should not have to pay for water that they still cannot drink, and they certainly should not lose their homes over this ongoing water crisis that was caused by the callous decisions of state government. It is unfortunate that Governor Snyder ended water credits for Flint families. I opposed this decision because Flint families deserve support from the state until there is confidence in the water system again."
Haven't these people dealt with enough as is?
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr user Mr.TinDC