Water Bill Moving Through Senate
Updated: Monday, April 22 2013, 03:36 PM EDT
The state Senate has given initial approval for a bill that will transfer Asheville's water system from the city to a regional authority. House Bill 488 passed the Senate on it's first reading last week. Now it's been referred to the Committee On Finance.
The measure would merge the municipal water system controlled by the city of Asheville with the Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) and Cane Creek Water and Sewer. Lawmakers say it would save millions of dollars for customers who they say have subsidized city services through increased water rates.
Supporters of the measure say revenues from Asheville's water system are shared with other city services, leaving the water system neglected. But city leaders say lawmakers are stealing assets without providing compensation in return.
The city of Asheville has battled for control of the water system after lawmakers took action several years ago to prevent the city from charging higher rates to county customers. An amendment to that law allowed the city to use 5 percent of water revenues for city services.
The House has already approved the measure.