Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and members of City Council had hoped to attend a public hearing on the state’s annexation policies to bemoan the city’s inability to use water services as leverage for annexation. But since the hearing was rescheduled for yesterday and conflicted with Council’s regular meeting, a letter will just have to do.
The General Assembly’s House Select Committee on Municipal Annexation was in town March 18 to hold a public hearing on annexation (originally slated for March 19), and Council sent a three-page letter pleading their case.
Since the passage of Sullivan Acts II and III in 2005 after the breakup of the Asheville/Buncombe water agreement, Asheville cannot require annexation as a condition of water service — a method used by other cities in North Carolina to bring urbanized areas into their city limits.
The letter reads, in part: “These legislative constraints, coupled with the further constraint of the inability of Asheville to change differential water rates, hamper Asheville’s ability to remain fiscally healthy.”
Further arguing it’s case for annexation, the letter states: “In the almost 50 years since the General Assembly expansion in 1959, Asheville has demonstrated a conservative and judicious approach to growth. Relative to other similarly sized cities, Asheville has grown at a moderate to slow pace.”
To see the entire letter, click here.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer