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News report: Lawmakers threaten Asheville officials with payback over water lawsuit

Reporter David Forbes at Mountain Xpress posted a disturbing story yesterday evening about the controversial move pushed through the General Assembly by Buncombe County state legislators to convert the city of Asheville’s water and sewer system into a regionally-controlled asset. Here is the lead:

“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.

Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer says the city is being ‘told to settle the lawsuit or else’ face more unwanted legislation.

On June 3, Rep. Tim Moffitt emailed Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, asking if the city would reach a settlement by the end of that day. ‘As we are approaching the end of the long session, is it the intent of the City to continue with the legal action against the State and MSD?’ Moffitt writes. ‘Representative [Nathan] Ramsey has been attempting to seek resolution and it seems to no avail. I would like to know by COB tomorrow if a resolution is possible and if not, I need to know that as well.’

In the next paragraph, he brings up changing the city’s election system and delaying this year’s elections so that district elections could take place (such a move could keep Bellamy and three Council members in office for another year)…”

Read the entire story by clicking here.

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