Leadership

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Mayor Karen Weaver Named as 2nd Vice President of African American Mayors Association

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The African American Mayors Association announced that Flint Mayor Dr. Karen W. Weaver has been voted in as 2nd Vice President of the organization. Mayor Weaver has been a member of the AAMA since 2016 and served on the advisory board for one year before being voted in as 2nd VP.

“It truly is an honor to have been voted as 2nd Vice President by fellow Mayors from across this great nation. It says a lot about their confidence in my ability to lead,” said Mayor Weaver. “The AAMA rallied around the city of Flint during the height of the water crisis and has been by our side ever since.”

The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) was launched on May 1, 2014 in Washington D.C. by a dynamic group of black mayors led by Sacramento, CA Mayor Kevin Johnson. AAMA was founded on the principles of transparency and accountability. The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing African-American mayors in the United States. AAMA exists to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. The role of the African American Mayors Association includes taking positions on public policies that impact the vitality and sustainability of cities; providing mayors with leadership and management tools; and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management.

Mayor Weaver went on to state that, “The AAMA really is an important organization, it offers Mayors who lead predominantly urban communities an opportunity to come together and support one another. It gives a voice to the pockets of our country that are often disenfranchised and discounted. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve as the 2nd Vice President and give back to an organization that does so much for so many around the country.”

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Flint Mayor Dr. Karen W. Weaver Writes Open Letter to Residents on the Fifth Anniversary of the Water Crisis

By | Accountability, Community, Leadership, Quality of Life | No Comments

Dear Residents:

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis. I write this as not only the Mayor of this strong city but also, as a fellow resident, who was affected by this environmental injustice. We have had plenty of time to question and wonder why human life, more specifically our lives, could be held at such a low regard. We have gone through every emotion possible when something like this happens; the anger, the confusion, the devastation, the fear of the unknown, are all things we’ve felt as a collective.

One thing is for certain, we were strong, revolutionary fighters for justice and equality before this and in going through this, our resilience and grit have only gotten stronger. As a result of this, the country got to see just how far we still have to go as it relates to not only dealing with racism and classism, but our crisis placed a huge spotlight on the need for newer infrastructure and stronger environmental protections.

We came together during one of the hardest times many of us have ever faced and we spoke out as one. Our grassroots groups, Pastors, faith communities, and everyday residents did not sit silently and accept what had taken place and as a result of the collective voice of Flint residents, the world stopped and paid attention. Just as we have changed the structure of systems before by using our voices, we are doing so now. The State of Michigan has changed the way that it addresses lead and copper because of us. The country is having a long overdue conversation and push toward change as it relates to infrastructure and water because of us.

We would not wish what happened to us on anyone, we took what happened to us and turned it into an opportunity to make sure that this would not happen on this level ever again anywhere in the country, and where there are other water and infrastructure related injustices, we take them with us as we speak out.

While we may not be completely through this crisis just yet, we are recovering and we are recovering in a way that only Flintstones can. Our voices caused national attention that brought resources here to replace the lead and galvanized service lines; with 21, 298 lines excavated, we are ahead of schedule and due to complete the replacement process by the fall. Our voices caused us to have economic opportunities leading to 2,000 jobs in our city. Our voices caused the philanthropic community to come to our aid, as a result, our children now have access to technology that they may not have gotten any other way. Our voices got the attention of the federal government, as a result, we have housing being built on both the north and the south end. We will continue to use those same voices to address our in home plumbing and fixtures needs, to continue addressing the mental health needs of ALL residents who were affected by this trauma. We will use our voices to continue on the path to being made whole.

On this day, the 5th anniversary of an avoidable traumatic experience, the flags at Flint City Hall will fly at half-staff. We will not forget what happened here, nor will we allow the country to forget.

I want to remind all of the residents of this great city that we are stronger together because of what we have been through. That we are moving forward and there is a spirit of hope in this city that we have been missing for quite some time. That hope is helping us to heal.

Your Fellow Flintstone and Mayor,
Dr. Karen W. Weaver

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HUD AWARDS $250,000 TO THE FLINT HOUSING COMMISSION FOR EMERGENCY AND SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS

By | Community, Economic Development, Flint, Leadership, Quality of Life | No Comments

In an effort to keep public housing residents safe and secure, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $5 million in grants to 22 public housing authorities including $250,000 to the Flint Housing Commission. The Flint Housing Commission will purchase security camera systems at River Park a 180 unit family development and Howard Estates a 95 unit family development to improve security and monitoring. The Flint Police Department will have the ability to view the cameras in real time through the CATT system.

“The families we support who live in public housing deserve to feel safe in their homes,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD wants to ensure the safety and security of public housing residents and these grants offer neighborhoods and communities the tools they need to help keep their residents safe.”

“This will be an added measure of safety for residents who live in housing that have had major concerns with crime,” said Mayor Weaver. “We want every resident in the City of Flint to know that their life and personal safety matter.”

HUD’s Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Program supports public housing authorities as they address the safety of public housing residents. These grants may be used to install, repair, or replace capital needs items including security systems/surveillance cameras, fencing, lighting systems, emergency alarm systems, window bars, deadbolt locks and doors.

Chief of Police, Timothy Johnson stated, “This was something we were looking at doing around the City, so we are just grateful that this measure will be put in place. The cameras will link directly to Police intelligence, so we are able to see what is happening in real time.”

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Mayor Weaver Invited to the White House to Discuss Infrastructure Needs

By | Economic Development, Flint, Leadership | No Comments

(FLINT, Mich)— Members of the Trump administration have responded to Mayor Weaver’s open letter to Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Cruz, with an invitation to the White House to discuss ways to address the critical water infrastructure needs in urban communities. Mayor Weaver issued the following statement after accepting the invitation to meet with leaders Thursday in Washington, D.C.:

“I am encouraged by the invitation extended by members of the Trump Administration and look forward to discussing how these important issues can be addressed, even before a crisis occurs as it did in Flint and San Juan. We know water systems in many cities across the U.S. are old, outdated and at risk of failing at any moment. There must be guidelines, procedures, and resources in place to address these needs before the health and safety of residents is at stake, regardless of where they live. I have spoken with Mayor Cruz who expressed support and encouragement for me to take the lead on articulating the critical infrastructure needs for communities such as Flint and San Juan.

I want to thank the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for agreeing to talk about ways we can ensure the infrastructure in our communities are being properly maintained. There are many lessons to be learned from the man-made disaster that occurred here in Flint. We need to fix what happened here and prevent it from happening someplace else, as well as develop a plan to help cities in crisis rebuild and recover.

And as I said in my State of the City address last night, I will search near and far, high and low, until Flint has the resources to rebuild its infrastructure in a way that protects our health, creates economic opportunity, and helps make our water more affordable for all residents.”

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Statement from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on Gov. Snyder’s State of the State Address

By | Community, Flint, Leadership, Michigan | No Comments

The following is a statement from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2017 State of the State address, which she attended:

“I was happy to hear Governor Rick Snyder pledge to continue to help Flint recover from the water crisis affecting the city and its citizens through no fault of their own. While we’re grateful for the ways the state has stepped up in the past year to help Flint and its residents, so much more remains to be done.

“Replacing the lead and galvanized steel service lines at thousands more homes is imperative because residents still can’t drink the water unless it first goes through a filter. Although we’ve replaced pipes leading to nearly 800 homes, we still don’t have enough money from the state and federal governments to fulfill my pledge to replace all the lead-tainted service lines leading to nearly 20,000 homes over the next three years through my FAST Start program. That needs to change.

“As we continue to deal with this unprecedented health crisis, it’s imperative that the state continue to provide access to health care for all of Flint’s children, youth and pregnant women; early childhood education for preschoolers; access to healthier food that can help mitigate some of the effects of lead poisoning; and more jobs. We also need to know that the money won’t run out for the bottled water and filters so many people depend on. Only then can Flint, and its residents, gain a brighter future.”

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Mayor Weaver Joins with Kellogg Foundation to Proclaim Racial Healing

By | Community, Flint, Leadership | No Comments

Mayor Weaver Joins with Kellogg Foundation
 to Proclaim January 17 a National Day of Racial Healing


Mayor Karen Weaver has signed a proclamation on behalf of the City of Flint in partnership with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and more than 130 organizations to proclaim January 17, 2017 as a National Day of Racial Healing.

“I encourage residents of Flint to join me in being part of the conversation and working towards healing the wounds created by the man-made Flint Water Crisis stemming from racial bias,” said Mayor Weaver. “Scientific reports now tell us the quality of the water has improved, but that’s not enough. We deserve better and we must demand better.”  

Over the next few weeks, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort and collaborating organizations will carry out a number of events in support of the National Day of Racial Healing. The TRHT community is made up of corporate and non-profit partners that collectively represent a network of nearly 300 million Americans.

 

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U.S. House Passage of Flint Aid Package

By | Community, Flint, Leadership | No Comments

Statement from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver

on U.S. House Passage of Flint Aid Package

 

FLINT, Mich. — The following is a statement from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in response to the U.S. House passage of a $170 million Flint aid package.

“Today the U.S. House did something we’ve long been waiting for, by voting for a $170 million package that would help the City of Flint recover from the water crisis that has affected our city for two and a half years. I want to thank Congressman Dan Kildee for his tireless work to obtain this money, which we’ll be able to use to remove even more lead-tainted pipes through my FAST Start initiative.

“I strongly urge the same approval be given Friday in the U.S. Senate, where Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have been pushing hard to pass this aid for Flint. We need this funding to help replace the city’s damaged and aging water infrastructure and to provide resources to our children who have suffered from ingesting lead-tainted water through no fault of their own. I am hopeful the Senate will see how critical this funding is for the people of Flint and pass the bills to help our community move forward on the road to recovery.”

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Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start Initiative: Pipes at 460 Homes Replaced

By | Accountability, Community, Flint, Health, Leadership, Quality of Life | No Comments

Pipes at 460 Homes Replaced So Far through
Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start Initiative

FLINT, Mich. —Lead-tainted service lines at 460 homes have been replaced so far as part of Mayor Karen Weaver’s FAST Start initiative, with 55 homes getting new copper pipes last week.

Crews from two area companies are replacing lead and galvanized steel service lines leading from the street to the water meter in residents’ homes during this third phase of the FAST Start initiative, extending the mayor’s efforts to restore safe, clean drinking water to Flint residents. A total of 788 homes are set to get new pipes this fall.

Work crews plan to replace service pipes this week at homes on Copeman Boulevard and Begole Street between Forest Hill Avenue and Ballenger Highway; on Cumings Avenue between Pershing and Downey Street; and on Leland and Crawford streets and Alvord Avenue between South Grand Traverse Street and Fenton Road.

Mayor Weaver launched the FAST Start initiative to help resolve a number of problems created after a state-appointed emergency manager switched the City’s water source to the Flint River in 2014 without the necessary corrosion control chemicals being added. The corrosive water removed a protective coating on the inside of the pipes, causing lead to leach into the water flowing to homes and businesses in the City of Flint.

While the level of lead in Flint’s water supply has been substantially reduced since the city switched back a year ago to water delivered from Lake Huron by the Great Lakes Water Authority, residents are still being urged to drink only filtered water, and to replace their filters when needed.

So far, crews have installed new service lines at a total of 460 residences in Flint and capped the lines at three abandoned homes. Mayor Weaver’s goal is to have residents in 1,000 homes receive new pipes by the end of the year, and for thousands more to get new service lines in 2017.

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Flint Officials Granted Extension of Water Relief Credits

By | Flint, Leadership, Michigan, Quality of Life | No Comments

Mayor Karen Weaver has received a letter from State Treasurer Nick Khouri stating the Water Relief program in the City of Flint has officially been extended through December 31, 2016. The program has provided residential customers with a 65% credit on the water charges of their utility account and commercial customers with a 20% credit dating back to April 2014 when the City’s water source was switched to the Flint River.

The $12.75 million in relief provided in the current State of Michigan budget includes a stipulation requiring the City to have a 70% collection rate on water/sewer bills. In order for the credits to stay in place, the City must show that customers are paying their bills as required by the state. Though the collection rate has not been achieved, state treasury officials acknowledged the recent progress made through the collection program for commercial customers and the upcoming start of the collection program for residential accounts. In a successful and ongoing effort to meet state guidelines, City officials have worked with customers and increased the collection rate of commercial utility accounts to 76%. 

“The City of Flint welcomes the extension and acknowledgment that good progress is being made in our collections,” said David Sabuda Flint’s Chief Financial Officer.   “We thank the commercial customers who have complied with the program and now we are asking residents to do the same and help the City cover the cost of water and sewer services being provided. Doing so will benefit all our customers as our community works to move past the worst days of the man-made water disaster.”

Starting next week, along with their utility bills, residential customers with past due balances will receive a letter informing them they must pay the current balance on their utility account plus 10% of past due balances.  The letter will also explain what is at stake if the balance on their water/sewer account remains past due. Customers who do not make the required payment will not receive the 65% relief credits in December, a late penalty will be added to their account, and shut offs will be scheduled.  This plan is necessary to help the City increase its collection rate and preserve the credit program for all utility customers as the City of Flint continues to recover from the effects of the water crisis.

Earlier this year, the state provided $30 million in water relief credits. The funds were used to apply credits to customers’ utility accounts for the period of April 2014 through April 2016. Subsequent water relief credits of $8.1 million have also been applied to accounts of residential and commercial customers.  

Again, residential customers should expect a letter with their next utility bill informing them of the program, its benefits, and what they can do to help make sure the credits continue for as long as possible. Those not current on their water bills will not receive the relief credit on their next bill, and their accounts will once again be subject to the late interest on past due balances. Furthermore, commercial customers who do not pay their monthly payment plus 10% of the previous balance will be placed on a shut off list.

“We are willing to work with residents unable to meet the full terms of the payment requirement, but we City officials must also show the state that our customers are paying for the services we provide,” stated Sabuda.

Customers with financial hardships who want to ensure that their credits stay in place and that they are not placed on the shut off list, should come to City Hall to discuss payment options with a representative in the Customer Service Center. Customers with questions can also call the Customer Service Center at (810) 766-7015.     

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