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Grand Rapids proposal could halve interest costs on leaded line removal

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A change in interest rates may save Grand Rapids homeowners hundreds of dollars on their portion of lead service line replacement.

Under the amendment, interest would drop to about half of the city's current 7 percent rate.

The rate would instead be pegged to a municipal bond index. That's currently at about 3.4 percent; a year ago, it was 3.7 percent. 

Grand Rapids has about 17,000 leaded service line leads in the city. City spokesperson Steve Guitar says the number of impacted properties would be roughly equal.

He says depending on the length of the line, an average resident's replacement costs are between $3,000 and $5,000.

The interest applies to a 10-year city finance plan that assists homeowners in replacing their portion of leaded service line components.

Guitar says residents are contacted when replacements are scheduled alongside area road projects, but you don’t have to wait for that to get the work done. He says the leaded lines generally apply to older housing stock.

City officials have emphasized the safety of the city’s infrastructure in light of the Flint water crisis.

A vote on the amendment is scheduled for the end of March.

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