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As noted here yesterday afternoon, one of the bills still residing on Governor Perdue’s desk is a controversial proposal that would set the table for a hostile takeover of the city of Asheville’s $173 million water system (and perhaps, full-blown privatization of the public system).

Last night, the Asheville City Council voted unanimously to ask Perdue to veto the bill.

According to an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times:

“Members debated whether a gubernatorial veto would stand up and whether it is worth losing another provision of the bill that would protect the city’s seats on the MSD board in the event the agency merges with a Henderson County sewer system.

But they ultimately came around to the position of Mayor Terry Bellamy, who said Council should underline its opposition to a transfer.

‘I don’t support (the bill) and I don’t believe it was written fairly,’ Bellamy said.

This opens the door for our system and other systems around the state’ to be tampered with by the legislature, she said. ‘I don’t think we should take this and let it go. I don’t think this is right.’”

 

Governor Perdue still has a few bills sitting on her desk that were sent to her during the waning days of the legislative session. One of them is a measure that’s vehemently opposed by a broad range of groups and individuals in western North Carolina.

The proposal, which  was advanced from scratch during the last couple weeks of the session by Buncombe County lawmaker Tim Moffitt, raises the explosive issue of forcing Asheville to transfer its $173 million municipal water system to the local Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Though the bill itself would not force such a transfer right away, it does appear to lay the groundwork for such a move and, perhaps ultimately, privatization of the system (and maybe other public water systems as well).

Reports indicate that the Asheville City Council will be discussing the issue this evening. It will be interesting to see if Council tries to weigh in with the Governor before her deadline for action at the end of this week.