Whether or not government is the entity that should oversee natural monopolies is debatable. However, it is music to one’s ears to hear of a natural monopoly being run like a business. The Town of Black Mountain responded to citizen complaints about the way snow clearing was handled last year. It hired the city’s former DPW Mark Combs to fix things.

One of the problems was the state didn’t clear its roads because they were too low on its priority list. Combs therefore made a deal. He said the town would clear the streets if the state would pay them back for salt and sand used. Combs then cut a deal with the City of Asheville to buy salt and sand in bulk. Combs also saw that the town purchased vehicles and upfits capable of plowing bad snow.