One year ago, the city of Asheville filed suit to block a state bill that mandates the transfer of the water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County. On May 23, a Wake County judge heard both sides plead their case. And both say that no matter the judge’s decision, an appeal is […]
For the first time in 16 years, Asheville has a new city attorney: this past week City Council appointed Robin Currin, a Raleigh attorney with particular expertise in land use and zoning law, to the job. The role is one of the most powerful positions in city government, especially in an era of frequent court battles.
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.
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.
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 […]
More emails obtained by Xpress shed new light on the push by some local lawmakers to impose a district election system on the city of Asheville.
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.
After much discussion, projections of potential fiscal disaster, and speculation about the next legislation to issue forth from Raleigh, the city of Asheville’s budget is finally unveiled at tonight’s Asheville City Council meeting.
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.
At a relatively brief Asheville City Council meeting tonight, city staff announced that a judge in Wake County has agreed to delay a state law forcibly transferring the water system. Council also approved $1.1 million in financing for energy efficiency improvements and the creation of a new multimodal transportation commission.
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.
Many people were shocked when a malfunctioning pump sent millions of gallons of raw sewage spilling into the French Broad River April 30. While the issue was repaired the same day, MSD Manager Tom Hartye tells Xpress it never should have happened in the first place, asserting contractor Gilbert Engineering failed to follow a contingency plan.
At a special meeting tonight, May 7, Asheville City Council members voted unanimously to sue the state of North Carolina over a bill forcibly transferring the city’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. City Attorney Bob Oast cited “legal, constitutional, and practical issues” with the mandate.
As Asheville gears up to file a lawsuit against state legislation that gives control of the city’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewage District, some rejected ideas posed by Buncombe County years ago to provide compensation have resurfaced.
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.
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.
A vote on a living wage was delayed, the Business Improvement District was shelved, and Asheville City Council once again voted for a resolution opposing state legislation taking its water system. Also: Council will hold another budget town hall April 18 at 6 p.m. in South Asheville.
Discussion about the fate of the city of Asheville’s water system and the impact of a flurry of legislation coming out of the general assembly in Raleigh is on the agenda for tonight’s Asheville City Council meeting. Council will also consider a living wage requirement for some city contractors. Follow live Twitter coverage here.
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).
A tax revaluation, rising expenses, and a barrage of state legislation are all creating a chaotic budget year for the city of Asheville. This afternoon, Asheville City Council and city staff will discuss the issues and invite the public’s input at a special 2 p.m. town hall meeting in the U.S. Cellular Center banquet hall.
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.