FLINT, Mich. —
Thousands of people in Flint are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure if they don’t pay up on their water bills. After recently putting out shut-off notices the city is now back to threatening tax liens on people’s homes.
“I got scared, for probably the first time since this all started this actually scared me,” said Melissa Mays, who is a mother and water activist who lives in Flint.
Mays received the notice in the mail Friday stating that she must pay nearly $900 by May 19 to avoid a lien being placed on her property.
The Mays Family is not alone. More than 8,000 people are also on the same notice. What gets them on this list is not paying a water bill for six months or more.
After May 19, for those who do not pay, a lengthy process begins which could end in foreclosure.
Mays now plans to go against what she believes and pay up so she can keep her family’s home.
“While I understand this is the way the law reads we are in a totally different situation,” said Mays.
City leaders say they are in a bind and they need the cash.
“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,” said Al Mooney, City of Flint Treasury Department.
READ: Mayor Weaver’s statement on water leins
Mooney says the shut offs are already working in the city’s favor. Last month Flint brought in nearly $3 million for water. That is nearly $1 million more from the month prior when they only collected $2.1 million.
Mooney hopes the 8,000 tax lien notices that went out with prompt even more people to pay their water bills. If all of those were paid up that would bring in nearly $6 million for the city.
Congressman Dan Kildee issued a statement Wednesday after reports that some Flint residents recently received notices of potential tax liens being placed on their properties for unpaid water bills during the water crisis:
“Flint families should not have to pay for water that they still cannot drink, and they certainly should not lose their homes over this ongoing water crisis that was caused by the callous decisions of state government. It is unfortunate that Governor Snyder ended water credits for Flint families. I opposed this decision because Flint families deserve support from the state until there is confidence in the water system again.”