PARC: Poll shows city voters oppose transfer of water system

Here’s the information and graph from the People Advocating for Real Conservancy PAC, via its email newsletter.

A poll* of Asheville voters shows that 82% oppose the transfer of the City’s water system to an unelected board. The poll was conducted among all City voters who voted in at least two of the last three municipal elections. And yet the state seems determined to do just that – to transfer Asheville’s water system to an unelected board.

Representative Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe) and the state legislature have set out to weaken cities and counties and strip them of their assets. Asheville’s airport: gone. Buncombe’s ability to make its own election rules: gone. Asheville’s water system: threatened.

*PARC PAC Poll Methodology:

• About 13,000 people voted in at least two of the last three municipal elections.
• Of those, we had phone numbers for about 8500.
• The polling company deleted people on the Do Not Call registry.
• About 2,000 of the numbers we had were no longer in service.
• About 2,500 of the calls went to voice mail.
• About 700 numbers did not answer.
• About 1,300 numbers were busy.
• About 500 hung up.
• About 1,500 people stayed on the line and completed the poll.

On Aug.19, the group released a similar poll it says shows that people don’t want a hotel downtown on Haywood property.


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0 thoughts on “PARC: Poll shows city voters oppose transfer of water system

  1. “13,000 people voted”
    “1,500 people stayed on the line”

    So that’s 11.5% of recent voters?

  2. “13,000 people voted in at least two of the last three municipal elections. ”

    Over 60% of water system ratepayers (owners) live outside the city of Asheville. They will not be voting in the nonbinding referendum.

  3. bsummers

    “Over 60% of water system ratepayers (owners) live outside the city of Asheville.”
    FALSE. One more time, this is FALSE.

    Much as I hate to respond to anything Mr. Peck says anymore, falsehoods can’t be allowed to stand. The majority of water customers live inside the City limits, and Mr. Peck knows this. There’s a name for stating something that you know isn’t true.

    From Tim Moffitt’s Study Committee website:

    “53,158 customers (20,625 are non-city and non-ETJ)” (page 17)

    • Dionysis

      Most everyone that reads this publication understands that Tim Peck makes up stuff routinely. Can anyone who blatantly tries to re-write the preamble to the U.S. Constitution (to fit a silly pseudo-philosophy) really be taken seriously?

  4. bsummers

    Lordamighty, the next two months is just gonna be a brutal flurry of lies, isn’t it?

  5. “City voters oppose transferring the city water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District, advocacy group People Advocating Real Conservancy says. However, a Western Carolina University professor has questioned the methodology of the poll PARC bases its statement on, saying it would be less likely to reach lower income people, less educated people and minorities…”|newswell|text|Frontpage|s


    CITY OF ASHEVILLE, a municipal corporation, Plaintiff, v. Wake County STATE of North Carolina, and County of Buncombe, et al., Defendants.
    August 19, 2008

    “The system serves all of the City of Asheville, approximately 60% of Buncombe County and less than 1% of Henderson County.”

    60% NonAVL Buncombe = 87,600. Avl population = 83,000 (2009 census)

    Today, the Buncombe and Henderson numbers are much greater.

  7. bsummers

    When you figure out that you can’t spread that falsehood anymore, will you go back to all the places you’ve spread it previously, & correct the record?

  8. J

    Why did they do the poll?

    Didn’t they know we’re having a referendum?

    • bsummers

      I suspect the folks at PARC knew that the BCGOP/Rep. Moffitt will pull out all the stops to keep the referendum off the ballot. It makes it a little harder to do – politically – when the preliminary numbers are already out there.

      But expect a desperate effort to prevent Asheville from voting on this anyway, and/or more deliberate dis-information of the sort peddled by Mr. Peck.

  9. D. Dial

    Soooo, once the consolidation of the water/sewer system happens, what consolidation plans are next? Consolidation of County offices like Buncombe and Henderson??? Since Asheville is the most obvious, well known name, and the economic driver of the area, that implies that if Henderson and Buncombe County get consolidated with Asheville

  10. Meiling Dai

    Let’s say the water system serves 61% of Ashevillians and 39% of Buncombe County
    residents (53,200 to 20,600). We now know that
    Asheville owns only part of the water system
    and that Buncombe County owns the other
    part according to the 2012 Legislative Research Study. And yet, county voters who use the water system were not polled about a merger. Guess they don’t count. On November 6th, if the referendum on the sale of the water system goes forward, only city voters will be allowed to participate; county voters who use the water system will be excluded. This may be legal but it doesn’t seem fair. What I don’t understand is why Asheville would go ahead with a referendum on the sale of the water system. If the majority of votes indicate approval of a sale, the referendum would be non-binding. However, if the majority of
    city voters reject a sale of the water system,
    the referendum will be “binding”, according to
    state law, thus preventing Asheville from ever being compensated for its share of the water system should a merger with MSD takes place.
    Why would Asheville do this? It’s beyond me.

  11. Meiling Dai

    The 2012 Legislative Research Study I referred to
    that concludes Asheville owns part of the water system and Buncombe County owns the other part of the water system is properly named: 2012 Legislative Research Commission Study. It can be found online using the title: 2012-LRC Municipal Sewerage DRAFT Report – North Carolina (pdf version).

  12. Meiling Dai

    Perhaps the quote Tim Peck referred to from
    the City of Asheville v. State case had to do with geographical percentages, rather than
    population percentages – “The system serves all of the City of Asheville, approximately 60% of Buncombe County and less than 1% of Henderson County.

  13. “Perhaps the quote Tim Peck referred to from
    the City of Asheville v. State”

    That’s right, Meiling. The 60% figure is a misinterpretation of the text in the case (cited above), which I double-checked. It’s more like just over 50% in today’s numbers. A significant number of users are omitted in the PARC PAC poll.

    Of course, 100% of users could live in Asheville if the city simply annexed all of Buncombe and Henderson County. After all, that’s what’s been happening. County users are slowly becoming city users through the mechanism of forced annexation. Now the city no longer has that coercive tool in their toolbox and the water system is their last hammer for plundering revenues.

    Both this poll and the upcoming referendum are irrelevant anyway. The legislature has issued an settled ultimatum: “hand over management of public enterprise to a regional authority or we will do it for you.” No histrionics from the creature of the legislature will change that. In fact, they will certainly be counterproductive in the long run.

  14. bsummers

    “Let’s say the water system serves 61% of Ashevillians and 39% of Buncombe County
    residents (53,200 to 20,600).”

    Ok, while we’re at it, let’s say that up is down, 2 + 2 + 5, and women don’t get pregnant from rape.

    Geez, are you guys that desperate to misrepresent the facts, are do you really just not get it?

    The figure from the Asheville water dept. presentation in Moffitt’s committee shows that there are a total of 53,200 water customers (important word, we’ll come back to it). Of those, 20,600 are outside the City. That means that “39% of the Asheville water customers are outside the City”, NOT “39% of Buncombe residents are Asheville water customers.” Do you understand the difference or do we need flashcards?

    And the “customers” (remember I said we would come back to that important word?) are actually “accounts” or “meters”. Each “account” represents multiple users or “ratepayers”. And I’m told from the Asheville water dept. that the higher density in the City means that the 61%/39% ratio of “customers” actually represents closer to 65%/35% City ratepayers/non-City ratepayers.

    Will Mr. Peck be starting his “correct the record” tour today?

  15. bsummers

    I wonder if Mr. Peck is out correcting the record about the falsehoods he’s been spreading.

  16. Meiling Dai

    It is my understanding from reading the Mountain Xpress rules on commenting that we are not
    allowed to launch personal attacks against writers, but to deal with the subject at hand.
    That having been said, if you divide 53,200 city water customers into 20,600 county water customers, you get 38.72 or 39%. If you subtract
    39% from 100%, you get 61%. Basic math. Thus, city water customers constitute approx. 61%; county water customers constitute approx. 39%.
    That is how I derived my percentages based
    on the actual number of city and county customers provided by Barry Summers on this website.
    Both city and county water customers feed
    off of the Asheville water system. Get it?

  17. Meiling Dai

    According to the Director of the Asheville water system in regard to city and county customers: Inside 32,615; Outside 20,641. That’s almost 50/50! More retirees and workers will be moving to Buncombe County, especially people
    interested in working in the beer brewing
    business which means there will be more county customers for the Asheville water system.

  18. bsummers

    “That’s almost 50/50!”

    Yes, 2 + 2 almost equals 5.

    Why on earth are you continuing to try to blur the facts on this? It’s 65% City, 35% non-City. That’s not “almost 50/50″.

    Continued attempts to mislead people only expose the weakness of your argument. And that’s not a “personal attack,” that’s just a statement.

  19. Meiling Dai

    I disagree with the Asheville Water System customer percentages presented: 65% city;35% county. And here is why. The Director of the Asheville Water System confirmed today that as of July 31, the number of water customers are as follows: Inside: 32,645; Outside: 20,641. Total number of customers is 53,286. If you divide 32,645 by 53,286, you get 61% Inside. If you divide 20,641 by 53,286, you get 39% Outside. Therefore, based on the Director’s figures, 61% are city water customers; 39% are county water customers. I will admit that does not add up to 50/50. However, years from now, things could change.

  20. D. Dial

    “Inside 32,615; Outside 20,641. That’s almost 50/50!”

    Huh, somebody flunked math.

  21. bsummers

    “Therefore, based on the Director’s figures, 61% are city water customers; 39% are county water customers.”

    See my earlier comment – according to the Water Dept., the “customers” are actually “meters”, and there are multiple “ratepayers” on each “meter”, and higher City density vs. non-City County density means the percentages of actual “ratepayers” is closer to 65%/35%.

    “I will admit that does not add up to 50/50.”

    Progress. Solid progress.

    “However, years from now, things could change.”

    Now, see – ya lost me. In American-style democracy, we hold elections based on who is here, right now. Asserting that we dare not hold a referendum now because it doesn’t take into account the wishes of “future” citizens… Well, sorry. There’s a form of government that that line of thinking leads to, and it starts with an ‘F’, and I don’t mean Funtown.

  22. Meiling Dai

    Thank you for that clarification – that customers
    are meters, and that meters serve more than one
    person. I get it. However, the Asheville Water
    System’s Operations Manager told me today that
    the percentages they currently use to calculate the number of city customers vs. county customers is: Inside 63%; Outside 37%. That’s a 2% change from one commenter’s calculations of Inside 65%; Outside 35%.

  23. Margaret Williams

    Here’s a breakdown of water customers in the Asheville city limits, Buncombe County, & Henderson County, as reported today, Aug. 29, 2012, by the Asheville Water Department:


  24. Margaret Williams

    Point 2: While everyone’s passion for this issue is commendable, please be more civil in your comments and exchanges with each other. Criticize the ideas, not the people.

    You can find our full policy here:

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