Mandates and precedents­: Around 100 gather for update on water system fight

About 100 people gathered tonight for a forum updating locals on the dispute over the fate of the city’s water system from local government and activists. Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer said the public has given city leaders a clear mandate to continue its lawsuit and fight to preserve local control of the water system against state legislation seeking to seize it and turn it over to a regional authority.

Rep. Moffitt: We stopped Asheville from joining rec authority in retaliatio­n for water lawsuit

At a Realtors’ luncheon on Aug. 5, Rep. Tim Moffitt admitted that state legislators changed a recreation-authority bill as retaliation for Asheville’s lawsuit over the forcible transfer of the city’s water system. “Until the lawsuit is settled, we took the authority away from the city,” he told realtors. This contradicts statements Moffitt had previously made that the matters were unrelated.

“What appears to be happening is that we're being told to settle the water lawsuit or else.” — Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer photos by Max Cooper

Carrot and stick: In emails, legislator­s and Council wrangle over water lawsuit, district city elect

Behind-the-scenes negotiations over a lawsuit, a push from Raleigh to force district-based elections for Asheville, and the fate of a parks-and-recreation bill that could save city government millions — all this and more are revealed in emails between Council members, city staff and North Carolina legislators. Recently obtained by Xpress, the documents show a candid […]

Emails reveal state reps trying to settle Asheville water lawsuit, may change city elections

Emails obtained by Xpress reveal that some state legislators have asked city of Asheville representatives to drop their lawsuit contesting a state-mandated transfer of the water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The emails also show legislators discussing the fate of legislation that consolidates Asheville and Buncombe County parks-and-recreation services — a move that could save the city $5 million a year. Further, the candid discussions shine a light on a long-rumored proposal that the state may force Asheville to switch to district-based elections.

Asheville City Council tentativel­y endorses budget plan, uncertaint­ies remain

While noting that much of its fate remains in the hands of the state legislature, at a special meeting this morning Asheville City Council gave staff the go-ahead to start drafting a budget based on a plan that calls for a 1 cent property tax increase and assumes the city and county may consolidate their parks and recreation operations by January.

All swing together: city, Democratic legislator­s defend suing state over water bill

Friday morning, Asheville city officials past and present were joined by some of the local legislative delegation to voice their opposition to a state bill that would forcibly transfer the water system to a new regional authority and the Metropolitan Sewerage District. At the press conference they supported City Council’s decision to sue the state in an attempt to halt the new law.

What happens to Asheville’­s water system on May 15?

As a forcible transfer of Asheville’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District clears its last legislative hurdles in Raleigh, city staff say relinquishing the system by May 15, as the bill requires, is an administrative impossibility. So what happens to the city’s water system in two weeks? “That’s a good question,” Water Resources Director Steve Shoaf says.

MSD board meeting mixes humor and politics

A seemingly straightforward meeting of the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County took two surprising turns on Wednesday afternoon. One led to a staff report on a private sewer-line failure that took more than two years to resolve. The other led to a vote on withdrawing a December proposal to the city of Asheville regarding the possible merger of water and sewer management — an action that was rejected. UPDATED THURSDAY, APRIL 18.

Emotions high as Asheville City Council raises specter of sharp service cuts

To hear Asheville City Council and city staff tell it, a manageable budget gap is now a potential crisis, thanks to proposed state legislation affecting areas from the water system to business licenses. To close the $5.9 million gap, staff have proposed sharp cuts in everything from public safety to transit to parks and recreation. At a special town hall meeting today, city residents exhorted Council against certain cuts and criticized state legislators (and occasionally the city too).

Old disputes at heart of bill that transfers water system to MSD

About seven years ago, the Regional Water Authority of Asheville, Buncombe and Henderson County fell apart. The creation of what had been an historic agreement involving the three governments, ongoing disputes and frustrations led Asheville officials to end the partnership in 2005. Fast-forward to the March 28 filing of House Bill 488, which transfers the Asheville water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.