As of Thursday, the people of Flint, Mich., have gone 1,357 days without clean water in their pipes. While the bureaucratic wheels of resolution continue to spin slowly, a state board voted Wednesday to return control over city financial decisions back to the local government.
Flint’s finances have been monitored by the state-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board since the city came out of state oversight in April 2015. The Detroit News reports that Mayor Karen Weaver announced in a statement that the board voted to recommend a transition of authority back to the city administration and the City Council.
The next step will be for the board to make the official recommendation that Emergency Order 20 be rescinded and power over daily operations be restored to Flint officials.
When that happens, the city’s relationship with the board won’t be dissolved completely. The board will still be used to approve budgets and collective bargaining agreements, and through Public Act 436, it will still have statutory powers, too.
Weaver said in her statement:
This is another step in the right direction for Flint. Our city’s government has been under state control for years, and this is a decision the leaders and citizens of Flint have waited a long time for. …
I have always been in favor of home rule. The individuals that the residents elect should be able to make decisions and do the job they were elected to do. And we will continue doing what is in the best interest of the people and the future of Flint.
It was under state management that Flint switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River in April 2014, leading to the lead-contamination crisis.
What, if any, difference this will make in how quickly people are able to get clean water to come out of their faucets remains to be seen.
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