“Defend our Water” rally this evening

Opponents of the state legislature forcing Asheville’s water system into a merger with the Metropolitan Sewerage District are rallying downtown this evening.

The protest is intended to target Republican legislators, who are coming to town for the Charles Taylor fundraising dinner at the Grove Park Inn. Protesters will gather at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Charlotte Street and Macon Avenue.

“What problem is being solved by this action, no one’s been able to answer that yet,” Asheville City Council member Chris Pelly, an organizer of the protest, tells Xpress. “If this is done to Asheville, this can be done to any other area of the state.”

“This is an unprecedented action by the state legislature,” Pelly added. “To take an asset from one local entity and give it to another has not ever been done.”

Pelly says that taking the water system “opens a Pandora’s box” and leaves the city damaged by “a big budget hole” that will require the city to raise taxes or cut services.

“The folks talking about this merger aren’t expressing any concern about the impact to Asheville. Is it really the business of the state legislature to tell cities they have to give up an asset? We’ve been good stewards, no one’s articulated why this is necessary to do.”

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