Plans to address water bills residents are still paying

NOW: Plans to address water bills residents are still paying

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Pastor Brian Clayborn has been passing out bottled water at Ebenezer Baptist Church for almost a month.

Despite not being able to consume the tap water, and having questions about its safety for other purposes, his city water bill is actually increasing.

“In the last week, the water bill in the church has increased $7, so that’s the issue I think should be the next priority,” said Pastor Clayborn. 

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said they’re trying to find a solution on to help cover those water bills during the crisis. 

“We are currently working in the MDHHS to identify some funding sources that we can provide assistance to the families in Benton Harbor with their water bills especially for water that they are unable to use,” said Hertel. “We don’t have all of those programs in place yet, but we are actively working toward it and that’s our next step.” 

While Pastor Clayborn is grateful for all the state’s help in providing thousands of cases of bottled water each week and funding for lead service line replacements, he’d like to see his local leaders step in and simply stop charging residents for water in the city until it is safe again.  

“The water bills in Benton Harbor are extremely high for water you can’t use to cook or drink, the city council needs to address that issue, particularly until the problem has been corrected.”

ABC57 reached out to Mayor Marcus Muhammad for comment, who said, “I am working night and day for the residents of the City of Benton Harbor to receive a water credit or some form of relief on their water bills. It is absolutely essential that this happens as soon as possible.”

 

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