Council announces delay in water system takeover, passes energy financing

Tonight, at a relatively brief meeting, Asheville City Council:

• Heard from city staff that a judge in Wake County has granted the city a temporary restraining order against a new state law that would forcibly transfer the water system to a new authority and the Metropolitan Sewerage District. Council approved a lawsuit last week, asserting that the legislation is unconstitutional. The order lasts for ten days while the city’s lawyers seek a more lasting injunction as they pursue their legal case. If the order wasn’t approved, the city would have had to transfer the system tomorrow, May 15.

• Approved 6-0 a $1.1 million from TD Bank for energy efficiency improvements, including LED street lamps, new windows for Fire Station 7 in East Asheville, and a new boiler for the Stephens-Lee Center. The city plans to pay for the loan with the savings from the new improvements. Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer recused herself from the vote (and an earlier one on vehicle and computer financing) because her law firm, Van Winkle, represents TD Bank.

• Unanimously approved the creation of a Multimodal Transportation Commission. The new board will consolidate the current Greenways, Transit, and Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety committees, in an effort to improve city planning in the related fields.

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