avlwatershedNorth Carolina’s General Assembly is about to take the unprecedented step of seizing a municipal-run water system from a city, which in this case has owned and operated it for more than 100 years.

Members of the NCGA have signaled their intention to introduce legislation in early 2013 that would force the city of Asheville to turn over not only its water distribution system, but control of its pristine 20,000 acre watershed, to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County (MSD).

Indications are that the city of Asheville will likely receive no compensation for the taking of these assets.

Let state leaders know you oppose any mandated takeover, as it sets a bad precedent for the future of all cities owning and operating municipal assets and undermines the confidence of municipalities to move forward to invest in their systems.

This takeover  also calls into question the authority of state legislatures to arbitrarily transfer assets from one local government entity to another.

ISSUE UPDATES

March 28: In a bill that doesn’t mention Asheville at all, Reps. Tim Moffitt, Chuck McGrady and Nathan Ramsey have a initiated HB 488 to regionalize public utilities. The bill also does not mention compensation to Asheville for the hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-worth water treatment/distribution system, or the pristine 22,000-acre watershed that produces the water 

The City of Asheville releases analysis of the impact of losing the Sullivan Act Transfers.

  • HB 252 would harm regional economic development efforts
  • HB 252 would limit investment in transportation infrastructure
  • Revenues have been used judiciously for regional investment
  • Water system continues to demonstrate strong financial performance
  • Asheville has not diverted revenue from the water system to subsidize its general fund.

March 6:  Reps. Moffitt, McGrady, and Ramsey introduce legislation repealing the ‘Sullivan Act Transfers’. The Sullivan Transfers allow the City of Asheville to use up to 5 percent of water revenues for street and sidewalk repairs related to water system maintenance. Losing the transfers will cost Asheville taxpayers approx. $1.5 million annually.

Read the bill here. 

Feb 26: Rep. Tim Moffitt co-sponsors legislation to create an “Infrastructure Oversight Commission.” Read the bill here.

Feb 22: Greensboro News & Record Op-Ed by Barry Summers: The time is now for North Carolina towns and cities to adopt the League of Municipalities resolution opposing such seizures, and for citizens to contact their legislators to oppose this radical reshaping of our shared resources. More here.

Feb 6: Charlotte Airport may be stripped from the city’s control by the General Assembly, placed under independent authority. The House bill stripping the Charlotte airport from the City of Charlotte is co-sponsored by a majority of the Asheville water Study Committee members including Rep. Tim Moffitt. More here.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THIS ISSUE AND MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED HERE.