by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
Asheville City Council approved holding a binding referendum that would provide citizens’ authorization to keep the water system. The action was made possible by recently-passed legislation. It is unclear what the city expects to do with the referendum. If the majority votes to keep the system, the city will not be able to sell it; but that would not prevent the state legislature from taking it away, leaving the city uncompensated. If the majority says the city should sell the water system, well, then, they should.
Council also wished to meet with the legislative delegation; particularly with Representative Tim Moffitt, who penned a batch of anti-Asheville legislation. Moffitt has not responded to any of the city’s invitations or requests for availability, and why should he? One of his bills that became law says the city can keep the water system as long as its representatives negotiate in good faith. Members of council wanted to hold the meeting to ask if they were in line with his connotations of “good faith.”
Earlier this year, one of Moffitt’s bills successfully took away any interest the City of Asheville had in the Asheville Regional Airport. People holding elective office would not be allowed to serve on the board, but existing exceptions would be grandfathered-in for the duration of their terms. But then, a midnight-hour amendment disqualified Mayor Terry Bellamy from serving. As the signatory for Airport Authority business, she was not happy. City Attorney Bob Oast, in not so many words, said it is possible the amendment did not get home before midnight, in which case it would have turned into a mouse. The mayor will attend the meeting, although she shall not be seated at the table. She indicated sparks would fly.