A judge on Friday said the Flint City Council again has failed to come up with a long-term water source and may be pushing the troubled community toward bankruptcy.
In a sweeping decision, U.S. District Judge David Lawson said the council’s proposed two-year extension with the Great Lakes Water Authority is not the long-term plan that he had ordered last week. He also rejected a request for more time so the council could get an analysis from a consultant.
Flint council members were elected to “govern by acting in the interest of the common good,” the judge said. “That has not happened over the past year and now time, which is of the essence, is in short supply.”
The immediate impact of the judge’s decision isn’t clear.
Flint is recovering from a lead contamination crisis caused by improper water treatment when it was using the Flint River during an 18-month period in 2014 and 2015. The state of Michigan sued Flint earlier this year, seeking to force the city to sign a 30-year deal with Great Lakes Water, which stepped in after the lead disaster was declared.
Mayor Karen Weaver agrees with the state, but the council hasn’t acted. Her administration warns that Flint could end up in bankruptcy. Lawson said that “may be accurate.”
The 30-year deal would have relieved the city of bond debt to a different water agency and supplied residents with “safe water at predictable rates,” he said.
A lawyer representing the council didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Lawson invited the state to file a request to enforce his previous order.
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