The Asheville Downtown Association released a draft of their statement regarding the City of Asheville’s water system. In the release, the ADA says, “…the 25 year Water Authority experiment was a financial failure for the Citizens of Asheville.” This draft comes out on the day that Mountain Voices Alliance will host a forum about the water system at 6:30 p.m. at Jubilee!, 46 Wall St. in downtown Asheville. The state’s study committee will also hold an all-day public hearing later this week, Thursday, Feb. 23.
The full draft from the Asheville Downtown Association
Draft – ADA Water Position
The Asheville Downtown Association would like to thank Representative Tim Moffit for putting the resolution of our water system conflict on the General Assembly’s agenda. The ADA believes that the 25 year Water Authority experiment was a financial failure for the Citizens of Asheville. While we believe the investment made by our neighbors in Buncombe and Henderson Counties in Asheville’s water system needs to be recognized and honored, The Asheville Downtown Association supports Asheville City Council’s 2005 decision to terminate the water authority agreement. Over the last six years, by canceling the water authority agreement, the City of Asheville has been able to invest approximately $40,000,000 in water infrastructure upgrades and improvements throughout the city. As the result of those upgrades, The Asheville Downtown Association believes that Sullivan Acts II & III are no longer necessary. Furthermore, with major changes in our State annexation laws, the Sullivan Acts now place a unique and unwarranted burden on the Citizens and City of Asheville. These acts operate to compromise the financial integrity and future prosperity of our City, County and region. It is imperative that the Sullivan Acts be revisited.
The Asheville Downtown Association believes that the make up of the General Assembly’s water study committee does not adequately reflect diverse viewpoints, and lacks both perspective and balance. The
absence of Representative Susan Fisher on the committee is a glaring omission. Representative Fisher’s wealth of experience and history with this issue would inform and add legitimacy to this process. That fact alone undermines our confidence in the committee’s ability to arrive at a decision which provides the best outcome to everyone relying on Asheville’s water system.
While the ADA remains receptive to a forward-looking, constructive resolution to this issue, we do not believe re-introducing a failed model for governing our water system is a viable or appropriate solution. Therefore, the ADA opposes the establishment of a new regional water authority. Furthermore, the ADA believes that any solution with a focus on the future financial health of the region will require the repeal of Sullivan Acts II & III.
Again, the ADA thanks the General Assembly for being willing to revisit this issue. We remain hopeful that Representative Moffit’s study committee will arrive at a constructive and appropriate outcome.
On behalf of the Issues Committee
Byron T. Greiner Asheville
Downtown Association Issues Chair