OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD
COUNTY OF HENDERSON NOVEMBER 14, 2008
The Henderson County
Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 10:00 a.m. in the Airport
Authority Boardroom of the Asheville
Airport. It was a joint
meeting with the Asheville City Council. The purpose of the meeting was
discussion of water agreement issues of mutual interest.
Those present from Henderson County were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Commissioner Larry Young, Commissioner Chuck
McGrady, Commissioner Mark Williams,
County Manager Steve Wyatt, County
Attorney Russell Burrell, Public Information Officer Pam Brice, Engineering
Director Marcus Jones, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Absent was Vice-Chairman
Present from the City of
Mayor Terry Bellamy and the following council members:
Bill Russell, Holly
Jones, Jan Davis, Brownie Newman, Robin
Cape and Carl Mumpower.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chair Terry Bellamy called the Asheville City Council meeting to order.
Chairman Bill Moyer called the Henderson County Commissioners’ meeting to
order and stated that Commissioner Messer had an emergency and would not be
able to make the meeting. He introduced the Commissioners for those in
Chair Bellamy welcomed everyone. City Council members introduced
themselves. Mayor Bellamy also thanked the Airport Authority and staff for
helping to put this meeting together.
DISCUSSION OF WATER
AGREEMENT ISSUES OF MUTUAL INTEREST
Mills River Water Plant
Bent Creek Property
Asheville staff gave a
brief update on the water agreement, stating the Mills
River treatment plant is on property
in Henderson County. It also involves property in the
Bent Creek area – owned by Henderson
County. They did not get
into the details of the agreement. They
stated that the City of Asheville agreed to sell
1,000,000 gallons per day to Hendersonville,
and up to 3,000,000 gallons.
Chairman Moyer stated that he had not planned on addressing compliance/non-compliance
issues. He reminded Asheville that Henderson County
had sent correspondence listing some options including one suggesting that Henderson County
buy the water treatment plant from the City of Asheville. He stated the rumor going around
was that Asheville
didn’t need the water treatment plant anymore and would like to get rid of it.
Mayor Bellamy answered that she feels the City of Asheville needs the facility.
Jan Davis stated he was not in favor of selling the water treatment
plant. He feels that there are some great opportunities for the two entities to
work together for the region.
Holly Jones explained that she felt it was not fair to weigh in at this
point as she was leaving in a few weeks.
(She had just won election to the Buncombe County Board of
Bill Russell has been on the council for 11 months but he passed, did not
comment at this time.
Carl Mumpower – no position.
Robin Cape – no position, she needs more
It was fairly evident at this point that the City Council members had not
seen the correspondence from Henderson
County suggesting the
possible sale of the water treatment plant.
Browny Newman stated he was open to looking at a proposal. He asked “Is
Henderson County interested in purchasing the facility or a long-term agreement
for the purchase of water from the facility?” He stated Asheville needs some of that water. He
questioned the cost of the water from the reservoir and from the water plant. One
point Henderson County
has made is that they would like for Henderson
County residents to pay the same rate
residents pay for water. He stated that the Bee Tree Reservoir and the North
Fork Reservoir supply most of the water Asheville
needs and is a lot less expensive than water created from the Mills River
plant. He stated there is a case to be made that if people are buying water
just from the Mills
River plant that it would
cost more because it costs more to produce.
Chairman Moyer stated that Henderson
County was not included when the City
of Asheville talks to the City of Hendersonville regarding
water. He stated we need a water
planning vehicle for regional water issues. No planning vehicle means that everyone
is guarding their own turf.
Mayor Bellamy explained that Asheville
City is very open to regional water
planning and the City of Asheville is open to
talking with Henderson
Chairman Moyer asked the County
Commissioners for their comments:
Commissioner Larry Young
explained that he came on the Commission six years ago. He explained that Henderson County
wants to work with the City of Asheville,
stating that one way would be to let Henderson
County become joint with Asheville as a partner in
water production would be to create a True Water Authority. He requested that Asheville take us in as
an equal partner in water production, not water transmission. This would give Asheville money to reduce
transmission lines that they need to.
Commissioner Mark Williams stated in the past Henderson County
sold one of our most valuable resources. Now we need to move forward and work
together, not focus on differences but focus on positive ways to move forward.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady explained that Henderson
County is currently working with Polk County
in water issues. He explained that Henderson
County sold it’s water to the City of Asheville and in return we
were to get:
1. Seats at the table on the
Asheville Water Authority
2. An agreement to provide
water to a portion of Henderson
County that wasn’t being
3. A piece of property at
Bent Creek would be deeded to Henderson
He stated that the Water Authority went away. Asheville
didn’t meet its responsibilities, although under different management and at
the same time Hendersonville is now providing
water to the northern end of Henderson
County really has nothing
in return for a valuable resource. One option would be for Henderson County
to purchase the water treatment plant or a part of the plant. Henderson County
is currently getting nothing in return. He stated we’ve got to address our
water needs. Henderson
County sits in two
different watersheds. There has to be a
regional way to look at these water issues.
Chairman Moyer mentioned a new Water Committee (Water Supply and
Distribution Task Force) and the make-up of that committee – to tackle water
issues. He stated that Henderson County
has different issues in the northern end of the county and the southern end.
Mayor Bellamy stated that they are open to looking at water quality and
water quality regionally.
Carl Mumpower stated it is not fair to say the Asheville water asset is regional without including
other municipalities and their water. He stated we need to look at “need”
rather than “asset”.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady stated we are trying to look at an agreement
that has failed, in terms of consideration from Henderson County’s
side of the agreement.
Carl Mumpower stated that Henderson
County is experiencing
seller’s remorse. He encouraged all to concentrate on water needs.
Mayor Terry Bellamy stated that none of their water assets were in the
Commissioner Larry Young
stated that Henderson
County has gotten no
assets from this agreement.
Mayor Terry Bellamy stated that Asheville City Council shouldn’t be
blamed for that.
Carl Mumpower asked “Is there any part of the existing agreement that
we’re not willing to honor?”
Mayor Terry Bellamy answered “Absolutely not.”
Commissioner Larry Young again
stated we need to create a true water authority. He said the agreement demands
a lot. Mills River
will be needing transmission lines and the City of Asheville should run those.
Carl Mumpower asked that a Regional Water Resource Committee be set
Chairman Moyer suggested that we get rid of this agreement and put forth
ideas that would be win/win for Asheville and
for Henderson County. He stated we need some way to
bring closure to the water agreement.
Robin Cape stated she has interest in a regional water authority as an advisory
board. She also stated that water is part of the conversation concerning
planning, zoning and housing.
Chairman Moyer explained that recently the Board of Commissioners had
appointed a Water Supply and Distribution Task Force and invited our local
municipalities to come in and be part of that planning.
Carl Mumpower agreed that Asheville and Henderson County need to set up a regional water
asset planning committee.
Browny Newman questioned why the water authority was dissolved. He felt
that under the old agreement and authority, the old structure wasn’t being
taken care of. But he doesn’t think it was done in the right way. Since then, Asheville has done a lot
of things right regarding infrastructure needs. He is supportive of a reservoir
on the property at Bent Creek, stating that currently the property is not doing
anyone any good in its current state limbo.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady stated that Henderson
County was left out in the cold, one
of the three important parts to the consideration given to Henderson County
when we gave up our water rights is no longer there. He asked “Why can’t we
renegotiate an agreement at this time?”
Jan Davis stated the Old Authority was not a good authority and he is
open to a proposal. He felt that the Henderson
County residents would
not be happy about the Henderson County Commissioners offering to purchase part
of a system when the water is offered freely and for free.
Commissioner Mark Williams asked if there was something Asheville sees that would help now or later?
He felt that the two entities should meet individually and see just what
the needs are and what they would like to see as a true water authority. Then
the two entities could come back together.
Commissioner Larry Young
stated that water is a real valuable asset. He explained that Mills River
is an area of growth in Henderson
County, as far as jobs.
If the water lines don’t get run for industries in that area we will all lose.
Carl Mumpower questioned if the citizens of Henderson
County know that Henderson County
doesn’t own water assets but have the ability to draw water out?
Chairman Moyer stated this might be a good place to stop the discussion.
Both entities need to discuss these issues individually before coming back
together to try to resolve these issues.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady suggested that we set up a process to move
forward, small groups on each side. We need a process to get a proposal out
Mayor Terry Bellamy believes it needs to be governing body to governing
body, all at the table.
Robin Cape suggested a neutral convener like someone from Land of Sky.
Carl Mumpower stated there is no reason we can’t create a committee
within 30 days. He feels that small
groups would work.
Holly Jones felt it important that the City of Hendersonville
get a memo about the next meeting, as well as Buncombe County
– they should know when regional water issues are to be discussed.
Mayor Bellamy expressed a desire to look at the current agreement.
Chairman Moyer stated we should look at how to approach regional planning
regarding water and look at the agreement.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady asked for resolution of the agreement.
Jan Davis stated it appeared that the concern of Henderson County Board
of Commissioners was the water agreement and the Bent Creek property.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady explained that we need some clarity on the
on-going responsibility regarding Henderson
Jan Davis asked if there was an expectation (future) that Asheville is not meeting.
He felt an authority was not needed at this time. Henderson
County has put on paper what Henderson County
expects from Asheville.
Commissioner Chuck McGrady stated that the water agreement is still in
place, we need a recommitment from the City of Asheville.
Commissioner Mark Williams left at this time. Carl Mumpower had left just a few minutes
Chairman Moyer stated that maybe the best way to proceed would be for
Mayor Bellamy to appoint three and Henderson
County to appoint two
members. He requested that all the members report back to their full governing
Commissioner Chuck McGrady stated this had been a good discussion.
Mayor Terry Bellamy stated that the Vice-Mayor, Councilman Newman and
herself would serve on the committee from Asheville.
Jan Davis referred to the Asheville
stating that the plant is intact and does a great job. He stated that are just
looking out for the interests of the Asheville
Commissioner Chuck McGrady made
the motion to adjourn the meeting of the Board of Henderson County
Commissioners @ 11:15 a.m. All voted in
favor and the motion carried.
W. Corn, Clerk to the Board
William L. Moyer, Chairman