Just after the three-year anniversary passed marking the beginning of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan (where it’s still not recommended to drink from an unfiltered tap), residents protesting their water bills have been told to pay up or ship out. NBC25 News reports that after first posting shut-off notices, the city has now sent letters threatening tax liens to the 8,000 homes that haven’t paid water bills in six months or more.
Residents who do not comply within the stated timeframe will be at risk of foreclosure. This comes after the recent ruling to end state subsidies to Flint residents, even though replacement of the lead-tainted pipes has only just begun, reports the Washington Post. The decision to pay water bills is not easy for residents who have been fighting for a solution.
“I’m failing them by paying this,” says mother and water activist Melissa Mays, who struggles with what kind of example she’s setting for her children by paying her almost $900 bill. “But also being homeless would fail them even more.”
City officials say they’ve been put between a rock and a hard place, claiming they cannot move forward to fix the water crisis without the necessary funds from residents and that they were legally obligated by city law to send out the notices. But Flint Mayor Karen Weaver hopes to find a better solution, stating, “I understand it’s the law, but I don’t like it because of the circumstances. We are working to see if any changes or something can be done to help the residents affected by this.”