Henderson County Rep. Chuck McGrady of Henderson County is pleased about taking another Asheville/Buncombe asset, giving Henderson County voting privileges over it, and refusing compensation. He and Rep. Tim Moffitt are making a habit out of forcibly taking from Asheville and Buncombe and giving away to Henderson. AC-T:
In another move aimed at the city’s regional assets, the state is expected to strip Asheville of control of the $60 million Asheville Regional Airport.
A bill to put the airport under a regional authority passed a key Senate committee Wednesday. The entire body is expected to approve it soon, said bill sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson.
The legislator drew parallels to a recent state committee recommendation to divest Asheville of its water system. Like that system, there needs to be assurances the airport would stay regional and not be controlled by one city or county, he said.
City officials said Asheville taxpayers were owed something after backing $1.2 million in bonds to start the airport.
“Just looking at the numbers, the city won’t lose tax revenue from the transfer,” said Vice Mayor Esther Manheimer, who also serves on the airport board. “But, of course there’s the requirement that the transfer happen without compensation, which some would call stealing.”
City taxpayers voted in 1958 to fund a new airport after a similar referendum failed in Buncombe County. Later, state, federal and county money went into expanding the airport, including $8 million in county taxpayer-backed bonds passed from 1991-98.
This would be the second time lawmakers moved to strip Asheville of a regional asset since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2010.
The first was a study committee headed by Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, that recommended this spring that the Asheville water system be given to the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District.