History of the Asheville Buncombe Water System by Davyne Dial
N.C.G.S. § 160A‑321
Sale, lease, or discontinuance of city‑owned enterprise.
(a) A city is authorized to sell or lease as lessor any enterprise that it may own upon any terms and conditions that the council may deem best. However, except as to transfers to another governmental entity pursuant to G.S. 160A‑274 or as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a city‑owned enterprise shall not be sold, leased to another, or discontinued unless the proposal to sell, lease, or discontinue is first submitted to a vote of the people and approved by a majority of those who vote thereon. Voter approval shall not be required for the sale, lease, or discontinuance of airports, off‑street parking systems and facilities, or solid waste collection and disposal systems.
(b) For the sale, lease, or discontinuance of water treatment systems, water distribution systems, or wastewater collection and treatment systems, a city may, but is not required to, submit to its voters the question of whether such sale, lease, or discontinuance shall be undertaken. The referendum is to be conducted pursuant to the general and local laws applicable to special elections in such city.
Bob Oast: Closed session on referendum
“The outcome of the vote on the sale or lease of the water system would only affect the City’s ability to sell or lease the system. It would not affect the City’s ability to seek compensation if the transfer occurs in other ways.”
Bob Oast: To city council on referendum
Oast: “The language of the statute limits the voters eligible to participate in such a referendum to City voters. The results of the referendum would be binding such that, if the vote was ‘no,” the system could not be sold or leased.”
Bob Oast on sale or lease
Mayor Bellamy asked if we hold a referendum and the citizens say they don’t want the City to sell or lease the water system but the State makes us give it away, do we negate the opportunity to be compensated. She didn’t want to do anything to stop Asheville from being compensated. City Attorney Oast said that the use of sale or lease in the statute contemplates a voluntary transaction. The statute does not address a situation where the City was forced to transfer its assets involuntarily.
Transcript: Asheville Water System Lawsuit Press Conference, verbatim
WCQS Interview: Attorney Frayda Bluestein, School of Government, on Asheville water lawsuit.