An effort by Republican legislators to transfer control of Asheville's water system to a regional authority that already manages area sewage has taken another step at the North Carolina legislature.
The Senate voted 29-15 on Thursday for legislation that backers say may end a governing dispute over water for Asheville and portions of Buncombe and Henderson counties. The bill also creates the mechanism by which other regions could create similar districts.
Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville says the measure will bring stability to water supplies for a fast-growing region. But Democratic Sen. Martin Nesbitt of Asheville says the bill needlessly intervenes in a local issue and takes assets away from Asheville without compensation.
The bill needs one more Senate vote before returning to the House for a potential final decision.