Rep. Moffitt: We stopped Asheville from joining rec authority in retaliation for water lawsuit

At a Realtors’ luncheon on Aug. 5, Rep. Tim Moffitt admitted that state legislators changed a recreation-authority bill as retaliation for Asheville’s lawsuit over the forcible transfer of the city’s water system. “Until the lawsuit is settled, we took the authority away from the city,” he told realtors. This contradicts statements Moffitt had previously made that the matters were unrelated.

District elections: Beyond the rhetoric-attachment0

District elections: Beyond the rhetoric

The recent disclosure that state Rep. Tim Moffitt had drafted a bill to change Asheville City Council contests from an at-large system to predominantly district elections has triggered heated debate among both elected officials and the general public. Although Moffitt hasn’t yet filed the bill, which mirrors the state-mandated 2011 switch for the Buncombe County commissioners, he could follow through at any time, and the potential impacts are substantial. In the following articles, Xpress takes a closer look at what such a move might mean for this city — and for this year’s scheduled elections.

Buncombe commissioners split over culture authority, likely to delay budget vote-attachment0

Buncombe commissioners split over culture authority, likely to delay budget vote

Buncombe County commissioners may likely delay their vote today on a $337 million budget. The source of the postponement appears to be the contentious behind-the-scenes debate over state legislation that would allow them to create an independent Cultural and Recreation Authority that consolidates services offered by the county and municipalities within Buncombe. Some commissioners say they weren’t consulted about a recent amendment to the CRA bill, and it’s unclear whether a majority of commissioners supported the amendment.

“What appears to be happening is that we're being told to settle the water lawsuit or else.” — Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer photos by Max Cooper

Carrot and stick: In emails, legislators and Council wrangle over water lawsuit, district city elect

Behind-the-scenes negotiations over a lawsuit, a push from Raleigh to force district-based elections for Asheville, and the fate of a parks-and-recreation bill that could save city government millions — all this and more are revealed in emails between Council members, city staff and North Carolina legislators. Recently obtained by Xpress, the documents show a candid […]

Emails reveal state reps trying to settle Asheville water lawsuit, may change city elections

Emails obtained by Xpress reveal that some state legislators have asked city of Asheville representatives to drop their lawsuit contesting a state-mandated transfer of the water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The emails also show legislators discussing the fate of legislation that consolidates Asheville and Buncombe County parks-and-recreation services — a move that could save the city $5 million a year. Further, the candid discussions shine a light on a long-rumored proposal that the state may force Asheville to switch to district-based elections.

Asheville City Council tentatively endorses budget plan, uncertainties remain

While noting that much of its fate remains in the hands of the state legislature, at a special meeting this morning Asheville City Council gave staff the go-ahead to start drafting a budget based on a plan that calls for a 1 cent property tax increase and assumes the city and county may consolidate their parks and recreation operations by January.