Saturday, May 11, 2013

Asheville Water System Lawsuit Press Conference

Asheville City Council Press Conference on Water System Lawsuit
Council Chamber, City Hall
May 10, 2013, 11:30am

TERRY BELLAMY: Good morning, everyone. Thank you all so very much for coming out. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. Thank you all so very much for coming out. Instead of having people sit down, I'm going to ask literally if my council, former mayors, former council members would come, and state legislators would come and stand with me as we start this out. [SPEAKERS ASSEMBLE BEHIND PODIUM] [APPLAUSE] Good morning, everyone. It's a pleasure to bring you all to city council this morning under unfortunate circumstances. It's great to see so many leaders here who have influenced the direction of our community. It's because of the leadership that you have behind me that the City of Asheville has seen unprecedented growth and that we've been able to weather the recession and the many storms our city has faced. I'm really proud that over the years that our representatives here behind me, we can say that the City of Asheville is a beautiful place not only to live and work but also to visit. It's because of the collective policies that were approved by the individual who are standing behind me, we have seen Asheville become one of the best places to live. And farmers have said that we are one of the best places to do business. But more importantly, we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. We've added more jobs from January 2012 to January 2013 percentage-wise than any other city in North Carolina. [APPLAUSE] Yeah, you can clap about that. Because of this group behind us we have unprecedented partnerships we have created as a community. When we think about the vibrancy of Asheville and what makes us a unique community, it's because of the people behind me during the time that they've served, they've worked and they've built bridges, whether it's through the Land of Sky Regional Council, whether it's working with Pack Place, whether it's working with Buncombe County Commissioners, our leaders have committed to working with individuals to make this community better. And they've not only thought about the City of Asheville and the citizens of Asheville, they've thought about the citizens of Buncombe County and the millions of citizens from across this country and the globe who come to Asheville to visit our community. So, today it's troubling when we think about House Bill 488. It forces the loss of the city's water system. Forcing the transfer of Asheville's assets is harmful to our statewide efforts to encourage economic development and business growth. Stability and predictability in terms of municipal assets and agreements are extremely important in terms of how Asheville and North Carolina are viewed as a place to do business. Based upon the opinion of the state treasurer, those factors could impact the bond ratings in North Carolina which may increase the taxpayers cost to borrow funds for critical capital infrastructures. The uncertainties created by this move could also undermine the ability of other cities and towns to issue bonds because they would have to be disclosed to potential lenders in the future, impacting desirability in the bond market. Over the last few months, you've heard this council and myself talk about the issues impacting House Bill 488 impacting our city. I'm not going spend time talking to you about how bad this bill is. Today, I'm going to tell you that we are proud that we put the legal team together of Moore and Van Allen and Long, Park, Warren, Anderson and Payne and our city attorney Bob Oast to help us defend our water system. [APPLAUSE] I'm proud to let you know that we will file a complaint in Wake County Superior Court early next week to help us keep our water system. I'm really proud of the fact that Senator Martin Nesbitt is here standing with us and he's going to speak right now.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Water Merger Documents

CITY OF ASHEVILLE v. STATE of North Carolina, Buncombe County. August 19, 2008

Legislative Research Committee on Metropolitan Sewerage/Water System

Tim Moffitt: Our Report to the North Carolina General Assembly

Representative Ramsey speaks on HB488
Representative McGrady speaks on HB488

Resolution Supporting Asheville's Retention of Its Water System
Asheville Resolution Against Water Merger

MSD Planning Committee 11-14-12
MSD Planning Committee 11-30-12
MSD Board Meeting, 11/14/12
MSD Board Meeting, 12/12/12

MSD compensation offer to the city.
Compensation offers 1 thru 11: Back to the Future

History of the Asheville Buncombe Water System by Davyne Dial


N.C.G.S. § 160A‑321
Sale, lease, or discontinuance of city‑owned enterprise.

(a) A city is authorized to sell or lease as lessor any enterprise that it may own upon any terms and conditions that the council may deem best. However, except as to transfers to another governmental entity pursuant to G.S. 160A‑274 or as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a city‑owned enterprise shall not be sold, leased to another, or discontinued unless the proposal to sell, lease, or discontinue is first submitted to a vote of the people and approved by a majority of those who vote thereon. Voter approval shall not be required for the sale, lease, or discontinuance of airports, off‑street parking systems and facilities, or solid waste collection and disposal systems.

(b) For the sale, lease, or discontinuance of water treatment systems, water distribution systems, or wastewater collection and treatment systems, a city may, but is not required to, submit to its voters the question of whether such sale, lease, or discontinuance shall be undertaken. The referendum is to be conducted pursuant to the general and local laws applicable to special elections in such city.

Bob Oast: Closed session on referendum
"The outcome of the vote on the sale or lease of the water system would only affect the City’s ability to sell or lease the system. It would not affect the City’s ability to seek compensation if the transfer occurs in other ways."

Bob Oast: To city council on referendum
Oast: "The language of the statute limits the voters eligible to participate in such a referendum to City voters. The results of the referendum would be binding such that, if the vote was 'no,'' the system could not be sold or leased."

Bob Oast on sale or lease
Mayor Bellamy asked if we hold a referendum and the citizens say they don’t want the City to sell or lease the water system but the State makes us give it away, do we negate the opportunity to be compensated. She didn’t want to do anything to stop Asheville from being compensated. City Attorney Oast said that the use of sale or lease in the statute contemplates a voluntary transaction. The statute does not address a situation where the City was forced to transfer its assets involuntarily.


Pete Kaliner on Water Lawsuit [audio]

Transcript: Asheville Water System Lawsuit Press Conference, verbatim

Water Merger Lawsuit: Temporary Restraining Order
Water Merger Lawsuit: Complaint Filed
Water Merger Lawsuit: Affidavit (Shoaf)

WCQS Interview: Attorney Frayda Bluestein, School of Government, on Asheville water lawsuit.