Commissioners call for state control of Hendersonville's water s - FOX Carolina 21

Commissioners call for state control of Hendersonville's water system

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Water drips from a faucet. (File/FOX Carolina) Water drips from a faucet. (File/FOX Carolina)

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners voted on Wednesday to turn Hendersonville's water system over to the state to be regulated by the N.C. Public Utilities Commission.

The board voted 3-1, calling for state oversight due to concerns about the City of Hendersonville's accountability to the water system's customers.

According to the commissioners in favor of turning the water system over to the state, the city is "not answerable to the vast majority of the system's customers."

A March 2015 report indicated 19,000 customers of the Hendersonville public water system were located outside the city while only 7,400 were located inside the city.

City officials responded to the claim and said, like most municipal utility systems, most of the customers are outside of the city but the number has not exceeded their policy rate. The city said a comprehensive rate study is scheduled for 2017.

The city said the initiative to change control of the water system "directly stems from Commissioner Bill Lapsley’s belief that the public interest is not protected under the City’s ownership of the utility system" but said Lapsley's opinions are "misconstrued, taken out of context or simply inaccurate."

In Lapsley's presentation, he said he believes it is imperative that the water system have state government oversight to protect consumers and make sure water rates are uniform for all customers, regardless of location.

Lapsley said customers outside the city were facing surcharges of more than 50 percent.

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