NC Supreme Court to Hear Asheville Water Lawsuit


RALEIGH - The North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to take up a lawsuit over the future of Asheville's water system.

The decision came down Thursday, according to the court clerk's office on Friday morning.

"Well we are very excited that Supreme Court has decided to hear the appeal," said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer. "We are encouraged by that. And this is an important decision for all of the citizens of Asheville and all of the citizens of other cities across the state who have invested millions of dollars into their own utility systems."

The city is suing to block a bill passed by North Carolina lawmakers that gives control of the system to a regional water authority.

The state Court of Appeals in October ruled against the city and upheld the transfer.

Asheville appealed to the Supreme Court.

The case has been controversial in the Asheville community.

Republican state Rep. Tim Moffitt, who sponsored the legislation, faced criticism for it during the 2014 election.

He ultimately lost to Democrat Brian Turner.

It has also been controversial in the court system.

The lower court found the General Assembly exceeded its authority in passing the law.

But the appeals court upheld the legislation.

The lawsuit is being watched by cities across North Carolina.

Its outcome could set a new legal precedent on how much authority state lawmakers have over local government.

The city of Wilson, the Brunswick Regional Water Authority, the International Municipal Lawyers Association and the state League of Municipalities have all filed briefs in the case.