Financial and Governance Studies of the Proposed Water/Sewer Merger


You’ll see lots of opinions – here’s the source material:

Financial Impact Analysis, Water and Sewer Merger Study (.pdf)

Utility Governance Study (.pdf)

Impact Study on MSD Rate Payers of Proposed Consolidation/Merger, Phase I – City of Asheville Water System (.pdf)



  1. Gordon Smith says:

    A quick pull-quote summary of the executive summary:

    Consolidation under MSD reduces costs for sewer ratepayers by $18-23 million over the nine year period while increasing costs to City taxpayers by $33 million over the same period.

    The average annual savings to the sewer ratepayer is in the range of $2.1-$2.65 million.

    The average annual cost impact amounts to $3.75 million, which equates to approximately 3.7 cents on the City tax rate. This increase would take the City’s current tax rate of 42 cents per $100 of taxable value to 45.7 cents per $100 of taxable value.

    A consolidated utility under MSD does not produce economic benefits to all stakeholders.

    Finding – Under this scenario, the potential average annual cost savings to the water ratepayer per gallon sold is $.000048, which would bring the cost per gallon sold to $.00685 – an impact that is less than 1/10th of a quarter of a penny. Said another way, for every 1,000 gallons of water sold, the water system would see a savings of 5 cents. This level of savings would have no impact on future water rates.

    Consolidation under the City of Asheville reduces costs over nine years for sewer ratepayers by $27.7-$32.7 million and $2.99-$9.45 million for water ratepayers. City taxpayers would experience an economic benefit of $13.6 million during this same timeframe.

    The average annual savings to the sewer ratepayer is in the range of $3.07-$3.64 million.

    The average annual savings to the water ratepayer is between $332,000 (just under 1% of the water utility budget) and $1.05 million.

    As a result, the city taxpayer would see a positive economic impact in the amount of $1.51 million on average each year.

    Finding – A consolidated utility under the City of Asheville produces economic benefits to all stakeholders.

    The “status quo” scenario contemplates the economic impacts of each utility continuing to operate separately under existing conditions.

    The City of Asheville’s Water Utility and the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County have demonstrated solid financial management and positive historical financial results, which are reflected in each utility’s strong credit rating.

    Finding – No stakeholders are at risk of economic loss under the status quo scenario. Both utilities are financially stable with solid financial results and strong credit ratings. Both systems have ample capacity to accommodate future demand, and both utilities utilize multi-year financial forecasts to plan and manage capital improvements and utility rates. Water and wastewater rates are projected to remain at affordable levels during the next ten years while funding necessary capital improvements.

    Intergovernmental cooperation…provides the potential for stakeholders to realize the benefit of economies of scale in select support areas while avoiding the expense of implementing full operational consolidation;

    Functional consolidation maintains the equity and voice of city taxpayers, water
    ratepayers and sewer ratepayers under current organizational structures, and;

    Exploring functional consolidation provides an opportunity for stakeholders to collaboratively identify opportunities to provide services in a more cost efficient manner.

    Findings – All stakeholders could benefit economically from considering functional consolidation in centralized management and administrative functions. The financial analysis of consolidation under MSD and the City shows that the greatest opportunity for cost savings is presented by sharing central service functions, which could be accomplished through an interlocal agreement.

  2. tatuaje says:

    So basically, if Representative Moffitt, and others in the NCGA, TRULY want to help their constituents, then they’ll actually not only let Asheville keep its water system, but they’ll also force MSD to turn over control of their operations to Asheville as well.


  3. Mim Toffitt says:

    Yeah, not happening. I don’t care what it costs. Asheville needs to quit struggling and submit to my will.

  4. nick s says:

    ITYM “well”, Mim: aka Mim Toffit Well, Inc., the new name for Asheville’s water supply if certain people have their way, in spite of the cold hard numbers.