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Commissioners appoint Messer, Young to new regional utility board

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners on Monday appointed two of its own members plus Mills River  Councilman Larry Freeman to a powerful board that will govern a new regional utility.

The state Legislature has overwhelmingly passed and sent to Gov. Pat McCrory a controversial bill that merges Asheville's water system and Henderson County's Cane Creek sewer district with the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The legislation directs Henderson County to appoint three members to the 13-member Metropolitan Water and Sewerage District Board, one of whom must be from the town of Mills River.
Commissioners appointed chairman Charlie Messer and Commissioner Larry Young and Freeman, on the recommendation of the Mills River Town Board. Commissioner Grady Hawkins nominated Young and Fletcher Town Council member Sheila Franklin, and voted for those two. Messer, Michael Edney and Young voted for Messer and Young. Vice chairman Tommy Thompson was absent.
The Legislature brushed aside a request by the Board of Commissioners to allow five Henderson County appointees instead of three. Rep. Chuck McGrady, a co-sponsor of the bill, said Henderson County already had a disproportionately large representation based on population, the number of MSD ratepayers and past investment in the system.
The legislation also merges the county-owned Cane Creek sewer district into the new regional utility. Cane Creek has about 3,300 customers and owns 58 miles of sewer line and nine pump stations.