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Flint City Council puts temporary hold on property liens from past due water bills

Flint City Council voting to put a temporary hold on placing liens on water customers properties for past due water bills. (Photo Credit: Drew Moore/WSMH)

Flint City Council called a special meeting to stop city officials from placing approximately 8,000 liens on property where the homeowner is more than six months past due on their water bills. Mayor Weaver notified resident that nearly $6 Million in liens were going to start ending up on people’s property title if customers didn’t pay up. In response, council members approved a new ordinance placing a one-year moratorium on the practice for water bills from April 2014, until the time when the water is deemed safe to drink without a filter. The action by the council is meant to replace a standing ordinance in the city’s charter which mandated the collection efforts through the lien process. Council President Kerry Nelson says the Weaver does have the power to veto this new ordinance, as well as the State of Michigan’s Receivership Transition Advisory Board. However, he says, he’s got a message for Lansing if this new ordinance is denied.

“Some of the properties listed for the liens had five, ten, even twenty dollar balances. Is the city saying we actually want to put a lien on somebody’s property for that? We have done everything we can do to try and help the people in the city. And if the R-TAB doesn’t approve it, then Governor Snyder deserves to be locked up,” Nelson says.

A decision from the mayor’s office is expected soon. The 8,000 liens were scheduled to be dropped off to Genesee County to begin the collection process by this Friday.

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