FLINT (WJRT) (11/27/2019) – An audit shows Flint’s water fund has a positive balance of $20 million after earlier projections showed it would fall into a deficit.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley hopes to spend some of the money upgrading infrastructure to comply with a 2016 EPA order requiring improvements.
He said a municipal finance expert is reviewing the results of a preliminary assessment of the fund to confirm the results. The assessment is part of his goal to provide a thorough review of the city’s finances upon taking office.
Neeley believes previous estimates and forecasts used to assess the water fund balance didn’t take into account the actual revenue and spending in the fund.
“We continue to triage the needs of our Flint Water Department,” he said. “It’s shocking to find out that poor fiscal oversight potentially created such a large discrepancy in actual versus reported dollars in the Water Fund. Our first step will be to confirm those initial findings.”
Neeley’s administration is hoping to use the $20 million balance to address critical needs for Flint’s water system based on a 2018 plan compiled by Arcadis. The plan calls for $200 million worth of improvements over 20 years — beyond current maintenance projects.
“These dollars will help us move closer to giving the residents of Flint the service they need and deserve, but, unfortunately, it is still just a drop in the bucket of funding we need for our water system,” Neeley said.
Flint has 586 miles of water mains, most of which are in excess of 70 years old.