June 22, 2016

The Detroit News reports:

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and Gov. Rick Snyder announced Tuesday an agreement that will allow the city to move forward with a plan to join the new Karegnondi Water Authority.

That decision has been in limbo since Weaver took office in November. She had previously declined to sign off on the deal to move to the new regional drinking water authority, saying it was a questionable deal for Flint that was reached without adequate local input....

“We're going to move forward with KWA but we had to have some changes,” Weaver said Tuesday.

Those changes include:

■Genesee County will pay pre-construction engineering work for a three-mile section of pipeline that will be built to test Flint’s ability to treat the KWA water coming in from Lake Huron. Federal regulators have required the new KWA system to build the three miles of test pipeline parallel to the KWA system.

■A “cost-sharing and financial agreement” with the state.

■Increased local representation for Flint on the KWA governing board.

Snyder was on-hand for the announcement as well, touting $4.2 million in grant funding that will be made available for the three-mile pipeline project.

If Flint pulled out of the 2013 contract, they would have had to pay to void it.

Weaver made it clear she was not happy with Flint being committed to the deal but noted options for extricating the city were limited.

“We’ve gotten information actually saying these are binding contracts,” she said during a press conference Tuesday morning. “... I don't know who thought these were good deals for the city of Flint.”

Flint likely won't get water from the new system until the end of the year:

“Most likely Flint will not switch to KWA this year,” Mike Glasgow, Flint’s utilities administrator, told The News this week.

“This has been delayed since the pipe that is currently supplying GLWA water to the city was originally going to be utilized to supply the city's water treatment plant with KWA water. Now an additional 3-mile section of pipe must be designed and put in place in order to supply the city treatment plant with KWA water.

“The city is exploring financing options for the extra months of purchasing GLWA water with assistance from the state.”

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget includes $5.4 million to pay for Flint to stay on the GLWA until December or until the KWA water system is in use, his office said. It awaits approval from the Legislature.

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