In yet more devastating and pathetically shocking news from Flint, Michigan, it turns out that Flint's poisoned water is among the most expensive in the country. Flint's annual household water costs almost four times that of New York City, one of the most expensive places to live in the country, and even more than four times that of Phoenix, Arizona, which is in the middle of the desert. Although Flint is one of the most economically depressed cities in the United States, its drinking water costs more than twice as much as Michigan's average. The annual median income for Flint's residents is less than $25,000 a year, yet the average household water bill falls at around $864 a year. Doubly devastating is the fact that this astronomically inflated water is actually poisoning Flint's residents. Tap water in Flint is STILL not safe to drink and yet residents are currently receiving shut-off notices because they can't pay their bills. What a bitter irony.
The primary cause of the costliness of this water is the fact that Flint has been running its water and sewer system like a business, a financial entity, instead of like a public service for public good. Flint's officials have been focused only on the bottom line, not the health and well-being of its residents. Residents got a bit of relief from the financial burden when a judge ruled that a 35% rate hike from 2011 needed to be rolled back. But the financial relief makes no difference to anyone while lead poisoning is running rampant among Flint's residents. It's just such a tragic story all around.