The Pulse

Is state lawmaker sending a threat to the city of Asheville?

By: - August 15, 2012 9:31 am

Wow! Things are getting a little heated in the battle over the future of the Asheville city water system. As you will recall, Rep. Tim Moffitt has made it a kind of personal crusade to pass legislation that would turn the municipal water system over to a regional authority — a place where it could quite conceivably be headed for privatization.

Last night, the  Asheville City Council voted unanimously to place a non-binding referendum on the November ballot for city voters to weigh in on the issue.

This move does not appear to have sat well with Moffitt. Yesterday (the day of the vote), a post appeared on the lawmaker’s website in which Moffitt quotes from a UNC School of Government report to make plain that cities in North Carolina exist at the pleasure of the General Assembly.

“Thus, if the General Assembly wants to create a city, county, or other local governmental unit, it is free to do so. If it wishes to abolish a local government, or to merge it with another, or to impose particular obligations on it, it has almost unlimited power to do as it chooses. In sum, North Carolina is not a ‘home rule’ state, as that term is commonly understood. Its local governments exist by legislative benevolence, not by constitutional mandate.”

You got that, Asheville? Better not try to stand too forcefully in the lawmaker’s way or next year there might just be a bill in the General Assembly to dissolve the cesspool of sin altogether.

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Rob Schofield
Rob Schofield

Editor Rob Schofield oversees day-to-day newsroom operations, authors regular commentaries, and hosts a weekly radio show/podcast.