FLINT, MI — The city’s chief financial officer says the state will release previously withheld funds for work completed by contractors replacing water service lines in Flint.
“These are the funds that were being questioned by members of the (City) Council and media,” CFO Hughey Newsome, said in a statement issued by the city on Friday, Feb. 15. “As I stated time and time again, we, meaning myself and the MDEQ, were working closely to get it figured out. I was confident that we would be reimbursed for the work that was completed.”
In late November, the state said it was withholding reimbursement for Flint’s water service line replacement work in a dispute with the city over the cost of performing full, traditional excavations at homes with copper water service lines that do not require replacement.
DEQ officials have questioned the need for full excavations at such homes, advocating instead for the city contractors to use hydro-excavation, a less expensive method, to uncover pipes.
Mayor Karen Weaver stopped the practice of hydro-excavation in June, saying the method was allowing some dangerous lead and galvanized materials that were damaged during the city’s water crisis to be left in the ground.
“I am happy to hear that the funds will be reimbursed. Now, hopefully, members of the council who were concerned will join us in moving the city of Flint forward,” Weaver said in a statement issued Friday.
MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach a spokeswoman for the DEQ for comment Friday.
The city’s announcement did not say whether the state will continue to pay for full service line excavations in 2019, and Candice Mushatt, a spokeswoman for the city, said she could not immediately comment on that question.
Mushatt said the reimbursements amount to $6.6 million.