State representatives Chuck McGrady, Tim Moffitt, and Nathan Ramsey have filed a bill to take control of Asheville’s water system and transfer it to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.
The bill doesn’t specifically mention Asheville, but draws its requirements in such a way that it’s the only city’s water system that it affects. It transfers all of the system’s assets, without any compensation, to MSD and sets up a Metropolitan Water and Sewer Board of “no more than 15 members.” Under the rules proposed, three of those members would be appointed by the city of Asheville.
A study commission chaired by Moffitt concluded last year that the water system should be transferred to MSD, but said it wouldn’t take action if the city and MSD were engaged in “good faith negotiations.” Since then, city staff and MSD have exchanged information and discussed the impact of a possible merger, but hadn’t reached a conclusion yet. Reports from consulting firms hired by both MSD and the city reached differing conclusions on how much the merger would save ratepayers, and how much it would cost the city of Asheville.