Asheville Daily Planet
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The Daily Planet's Opinion: May 2017
Thursday, 04 May 2017 12:46

Asheville to keep its watersystem (forever, we hope)

We are delighted that — at least for now and as favored by most citizens, Asheville — will be allowed to retain local control of its pristine water system instead of having it turned over by an overreaching state General Assembly to a regional body, the Metropolitan Sewerage District.

State Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Hendersonville, reportedly has — at least temporarily — decided to stop his effort to force a transfer of the city’s water system to MSD. Instead, McGrady said recently that he is turning his efforts to a broader approach by introducing a bill to bar  localities statewide from charging more for water or sewer services outside their borders than inside — unless a state body approves otherwise. In addition, his bill would require that water and sewer revenues be used solely to provide those services.

Fortunately, McGrady’s latest effort would only slightly affect Asheville since the city — under a state law enacted years ago just for the “Paris of the South” — already is required to not charge differential water rates for customers inside and outside the city limits — and is prohibited from diverting water revenue to any other use.

Following the state Supreme Court’s decision last December to strike down a 2013 law that would transfer the system to the MSD,  McGrady said there was another way to make the hand-over happen, but he did not specify how he would overcome the constitutional issues the Supreme Court raised.

Conversely, we think Asheville has proven over the years to be a fine shepherd of its water system and that control of our water — so essential to life —  needs to remain in local hands.


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