Flint could name its own experts to oversee the response to the city’s drinking water crisis under a bill just sent to the state Senate floor.
State Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) sponsored the bill. He says a locally appointed board would give Flint residents more control over their own destiny. That’s after decisions by state-appointed emergency managers that created Flint’s water crisis.
He says a local board will be concerned only with fixing what went wrong.
“This sort of helps to keep local control to ensure that professionals whose sole responsibility is to help deal with the crisis are focused on that,” said Ananich.
It would be up to Flint to pay for the oversight panel. It could levy a millage to pay for it. The commission would sunset within 15 years.
The state Senate Government Operations Committee also adopted a bill to allow Flint to become a “promise zone” that raises money to pay for local students’ two- and four-year college tuitions. Supporters say it will encourage families to remain in the city.
“Flint’s had a problem in that they’re trying to keep people in their city, trying to make sure the city is successful,” said state Sen. Geoff Hansen (R-Hart). “This will help because it gives them an opportunity to get their kids the opportunity they deserve, and I think it’s a great step for Flint.”
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) expects the bill to be voted on in October.