A controversial bill proposed by state Rep. Tim Moffitt that would originally have seized Asheville’s water system and transferred it to the Metropolitan Sewerage District has been drastically revised. The current version of the bill calls for studying the efficiency of moving the water systems of large cities to a MSD.
“The Legislative Research Commission shall study whether requiring large cities that have a municipal water system and that are located entirely within a Metropolitan Sewerage District to convey that water system to the district will improve the efficiency of providing public services,” the bill now reads.
The bill aroused some local opposition in part because members of Asheville City Council said Moffitt had not consulted them or MSD before proposing the legislation. Moffitt, meanwhile, claimed the bill was intended to “drive the discussion.”
Upon word that the bill would come before the house’s Government Commission, Council member Gordon Smith and Buncombe Democratic Party Chair Emmet Carney tried to rally opposition against Moffitt’s proposal, and Smith released draft language of a resolution declaring Council’s unanimous opposition. By the time it left the committee, however, referred the house’s rules committee, the proposal became a study bill.
In an e-mail to Council members informing them of the change, City Attorney Bob Oast noted that “This does not mean that the issue is settled, or that we requested this study, or that we agree with a particular recommendation. I think those points should be conveyed to the legislators.”
– David Forbes, senior news reporter