A new study released by the Food and Water Watch shows that Flint residents paid $864 annually for water, the highest rate in the country. The survey uses data that was calculated before January 2015, which means that the residents of Flint were paying the most despite their water being tainted.
One of the study's authors said that the water in Flint far exceeded what the United Nations designated as affordable water and sewer service, 3% of household income (Flint's was 7%). While a judge agreed last year that rates were too high and ordered them to be brought down 35%, damage had already been done due to a belief that the city was mismanaging fund to be used on water and sewage:
"They've been using that money improperly for years to fund the general operations of the city," said Valdemar L. Washington, who has been battling the rate increases in court since 2012. The city's sewer fund had a balance of $36 million in 2006 but was running a $23-million deficit by 2012, Washington said.