At the Oct. 16 Henderson County Board of Commissioners meeting, Chairman Bill Moyer passed out an outline of his peace proposal to Asheville, titled “Summary of Proposed Revised Contract.”
Among its more notable elements are the following:
• In exchange for the return of the Bent Creek property, “Asheville will pay Henderson County $2 million in a lump sum, at contract signing.” The money would be used for “water and/or sewer lines” in Henderson County.
• The Henderson County Board of Commissioners would have the right to appoint one member to the Water Authority “or any successor entity of the Authority.”
• Henderson County customers of “the Authority and/or Asheville” would pay the same rates for water as customers within Asheville. (This stipulation would extend the Sullivan Act, which bars Asheville from imposing rate differentials within Buncombe County.)
• Water produced in the system “will be made available to all customers on an equal basis regardless of drought conditions or the inoperability of any water producing plant.” (This appears to be a concession to Asheville, since the 1995 agreement gave Henderson County first dibs at the Mills River water. Then again, with this stipulation, Henderson County customers would also be given equal access to water from Asheville’s North Fork and Bee Tree plants.)
• Henderson County would receive prior notice of all water-system extensions in the county. All such extensions would have to be approved by the county commissioners, unless they were part of a master plan already approved by them. The county would also have the right to get a bigger water line than what the Authority had planned by paying for an “upgrade.”
• Next to “Sale of water to Hendersonville,” Moyer had typed in four question marks, which may suggest that Henderson County and Asheville are still working on a mechanism for dividing up the revenue from the sale of Mills River water to the Hendersonville water system.