State representatives Chuck McGrady, Tim Moffitt, and Nathan Ramsey have filed a bill to take control of Asheville’s water system and transfer it to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.
The bill doesn’t specifically mention Asheville, but draws its requirements in such a way that it’s the only city’s water system that it affects. It transfers all of the system’s assets, without any compensation, to MSD and sets up a Metropolitan Water and Sewer Board of “no more than 15 members.” Under the rules proposed, three of those members would be appointed by the city of Asheville.
A study commission chaired by Moffitt concluded last year that the water system should be transferred to MSD, but said it wouldn’t take action if the city and MSD were engaged in “good faith negotiations.” Since then, city staff and MSD have exchanged information and discussed the impact of a possible merger, but hadn’t reached a conclusion yet. Reports from consulting firms hired by both MSD and the city reached differing conclusions on how much the merger would save ratepayers, and how much it would cost the city of Asheville.
3 thoughts on “McGrady, Moffitt, Ramsey file bill to move control of Asheville’s water system to MSD”
I think the water merger bill is a good idea for the following reasons: (1) it would improve the repair and maintenance of the water system because the MSD puts 50% of its revenue back into the system as opposed to Asheville which invests less; currently 40% of Asheville’s water supply is lost daily due to system leaks; (2) all Asheville water system employees will be tranferred to MSD with higher salaries and benefits;(3) by merging Asheville’s water system with MSD, costs of maintaining the water system will be reduced according to the recent final report to the MSD on this merger; (4)any debt Asheville incurred to maintain the water system will be transferred to MSD;(5)when the MSD issues a rate increase, it is gradual and not spiked. In the past, Asheville issued a unusually high rate increase to business owners; as a result, these business owners turned to Rep. Moffitt for help. A 3% water rate increase was issued Tuesday to non-manufacturing business owners to help Asheville balance its budget. When issuing rate increases, the MSD considers what is best for the ratepayer; the ratepayer comes first according to the MSD. Note: Asheville will not receive any compensation for its water system according to the water merger bill as reported. Could that be because decades ago, the City put water revenue into its General Fund for projects not related to water?
Tim Moffitt’s website that he refers to in his FB comment above is riddled with factual errors.
First, he states that ” The City of Asheville taxpayers have seldom ever subsidized the water system” That is patently FALSE. Not only did Asheville pay for the watersheds where the water actually comes from, but the city has built damns, reservoirs, treatment plants, etc. http://www.mountainx.com/article/18687/Like-water-for-Asheville
Second, he states that Asheville’s water system is “deficient”. That is blatantly FALSE. In fact, it is highly rated & properly maintained. And according to this report Asheville has appropriate and experienced management in place & consistent investment in the water system infrastructure. http://www.ashevillenc.gov/Portals/0/city-documents/water/Water-Resources-Dept-Presentation-16Feb2012.pdf
Third, his website also states “the Asheville system (is) wasting around 30 percent of the water pumped”. FALSE. As of 2008 the amount of water lost was at 18%. And with the major improvements that have been made in the last 5 years I’m guessing that figure has only gone down. http://www.mountainx.com/article/11854/Water-torture
Fourth, he states that “The City of Asheville taxpayers should not use water revenues to subsidize other city expenses” with the implication that this is currently happening. BY LAW, Asheville can’t use water revenue to subsidize general fund.
Not only has Asheville paid for the watersheds, the very source of our water, but they have also replaced any lines that were originally built by Buncombe Co. and currently do all of the maintenance. It is Asheville’s water system. And this bill constitutes theft of this valuable asset from Asheville’s citizens.
Moffit claims to be against eminent domain and involuntary annexation, yet here he is forcibly confiscating a city’s assets that they have spent untold millions acquiring. The word for that is ‘hypocrisy’.
And he’s apparently using lies to bolster this hostile appropriation of Asheville’s water system.
What do you think of the proposed merger? We’ve got a poll going at http://www.facebook.com/mountainx.