Hearings of the Legislature’s Metropolitan Sewerage/Water System Committee, headed by Buncombe County’s Rep. Tim Moffitt, are set to begin Jan. 23 in Raleigh. The study grew out of legislation filed by Moffitt that would have demanded “conveyance of a city water system to a metropolitan sewerage district” under certain conditions — conditions that happened to specifically match Asheville and Buncombe County (see HB 925 as first filed).
The proposed legislation, which caught both the city and the existing MSD by surprise (see Xpress’ May 5 report), was changed in committee to take the shape of a study bill, and the House standing committee was authorized in the Studies Act of 2011 (HB 773), adopted June 16.
The Studies Act authorizes the committee to look at whether “requiring large cities that have a municipal water system and that are located entirely within a Metropolitan Sewerage District to convey that water system to the district will improve the efficiency of providing public services. The Commission may specifically examine House Bill 925, First Edition, 2011.”
Moffitt is joined on the committee by fellow Republicans Chuck McGrady of Henderson County, William Brawley of Mecklenburg County and Tom Murry of Wake County. William Brisson of Bladen County is the only Democrat.
In October, Asheville City Council appointed members Esther Manheimer and Jan Davis to a task force created in conjunction with the MSD, established to provide input during the study process. Moffitt’s committee, which is limited to four meetings, must complete its work by the end of next April.
To receive notices of the study committee’s meetings, members of the public may register here. To review information and materials, see the committee’s website. The Jan. 23 meeting will be held at 2 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building, Room 544.
by Nelda Holder, contributing editor