Year later, charge dropped against Flint water official

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But many Flint residents still don't trust their taps - lining up for free bottled water or installing city-recommended filters after revelations in 2014 and 2015 that risky levels of lead had leached into the system while officials tried to cut costs.

If the residents don't pay, they may have to give up their homes. Each month Flint pays $1.1 million to the Great Lakes Water Authority for Detroit water and roughly $440,000 to cover its debt for the newly built Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline, even though Flint is still months away from using it.

Kristin Moore, a city spokesperson, said in an email that water shutoffs were routine and have been performed for years. "He's the reason that we were able to get started because he did try, and no one responded to him".

More than 8,000 people received notices from the city informing them that they owe money if they wish to avoid having a lien placed on their homes, NBC 25 reports. Thousands of residents, many of whom are still using bottled water for many of their needs, have received an unpleasant notice in the mail.

"And the city called the 8,000 letters "routine" in a statement - though no one got one past year, in the aftermath of the lead poisoning crisis", The Washington Post reported.

Thirteen state officials have been charged in connection with the water crisis. Corrosive salts in the water damaged the pipes, which contain lead, causing that material to be released into the water. They're accused of ignoring warnings and knowingly putting the industrial city's 95,000 residents in danger. But the pipes remain in the ground - although federal funds are earmarked for their removal - and people remain distrustful of the water, filtered or not.

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Her family has already stopped doing laundry at home, cooking with tap water, and has begun limiting their showers to seven minutes because the water is so toxic. Thanks to a measure passed by the MI legislature, Flint residents a year ago got discounts on their water bills, which are among the very highest in the nation.

"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", Al Mooney, a representative with the city's Treasury Department, told a NBC.

"I was cooperating before charges were brought upon me, I was going to cooperate regardless", he said after the hearing. "I can't lose my house".

"Flint families should not have to pay for water that they still can not drink", said Rep. Dan Kildee in a statement, "and they certainly should not lose their homes over this ongoing water crisis that was caused by the callous decisions of state government".

Moore, Flint's spokeswoman, said officials had no choice under a city law but to send out the letters. Liens kick off a legal process that could ultimately result in people losing their homes.

"I feel like my hands are tied", said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in a statement to Vox. My husband and I talked and said, 'you know what, I don't want to pay for this poison.