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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Cape Fear Public Utility Authority customers can expect to see a hike in their water bill in the weeks to come.

They voted today raise water rates 13.1 percent.

“It’s a needed 13.1 percent increase in revenue,” said Carey Disney Ricks, CFPUA’s Public Information Officer. “The tiered rate structure remains the same, but the thresholds for tiers have changed.”

CFPUA is trying to meet its financial obligations and needed to increase revenue this year so it could pay a $6 million bond debt. The bond was issued in 2008 to help update infrastructure.

Stephen Day, a manager at The Pilot House in downtown Wilmington, says restaurants will be hit especially hard by the rate increase.

“We use tons of water,” Day said. “We’re thawing seafood, cleaning and constantly running the dish washer.”

Day says raising the menu prices would be the easiest way to offset the increased water rates, but says that would be the last thing the restaurant would do.

“Coming out of the recession, we’re doing everything we can to promote business right now and raising prices isn’t going to promote any kind of business,” Day said. “It’s just something we’ll have to deal with and maybe we’ll have to cut costs in other ways.”

This is another in a series of rate increase for water users by the CFPUA, who raised them twice in 2010. You’ll see the increase starting in May.

Comment on this Story

  • kfredrickson

    13.1% give me a break! I just got my bill and the “new” rates are over 20%!! This new tier idea wasn’t thought out at all and once again it’s the customers who are made to pay the price for poor leadership!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    CFPUA was created by government and is a quasi-governmental body. It has absolutely nothing to do with the free market, beacuse it has a monopoly on services. It would be a free market issue if you could choose your water and sewer provider.

    Don’t use words when you don’t understand their meaning.

  • Laughing

    Bread and circuses. Thanks for keeping me laughing. The misspellings, grade-school grammar, tortured facts, outright lies and distortions all point to ignorance; my real concern is many of you are breeding at an alarming rate.

    The CFPUA is the bastard child of two local governments. You need to do a little research…I know it will be hard for some of you with your backwoods IQ. I can almost smell the smoke from your brain cells rubbing together.

    Find and read the Inter-local Agreement (ILA) written and signed between COW & NHC. Mayor Saffo and former Commissioner Caster’s signatures are right at the top. This devil’s spawn (as you believe) was created because the problem was bigger than both of them; they are both equally responsible for the problem they couldn’t fix.

    The county likes to blame the city for lack of maintenance, but failed to see how all their inept development with no strategic planning — dumped right back into a system that was full and broken. Both are equally guilty. Former New Hanover employees talking trash about the city…easy to do when all your stuff is NEW. Throw a little chlorine in the well-water and subsidize your customers water rates…don’t sound too hard to me. Your hillbilly population is all on septic anyway (leaching into the groundwater, wetlands, and oyster beds).

    So, when the EPA and the NCDENR said in 2006, you are BOTH incompetent and you need to fix this pronto, they ran like scalded dogs to slap this ILA together so they could continue to do what they do best. Point fingers and blame, which they are doing on a grand scale. The new boss looks like the old boss, Caitlin and Berger! Read the ILA…but it spells it ALL out. The city and county are still the puppet masters, pulling the strings.

    The CFPUA is trying to please many…the city and county who still have their tenterhooks fully inserted, and the rate payers, like most of our self-indulgent population who want everything to be free. Ultimately, CFPUA has been asked to fix what the City and County couldn’t. They are doing a good job of it, and that is going to cost some money.

    The CFPUA was structured EXACTLY as it has been for the reason that it needed to be fixed, but you were going to cry and whine about it. There is NOTHING you will do about it…except to move out to avoid it. You must read the ILA, and know the LAW! You can try to change it (through legislative action)…but even the politicians know it needed to be done. It was structured this way on PURPOSE.

    The bastard child is merely doing what anyone would want to do in their position…make it on their own and try and forget where they came from. But they can’t…monthly board meetings are like ugly family reunions that never end.

    It was the City and County who asked folks to conserve in the MIDDLE OF A TERRIBLE DROUGHT. Now we don’t have one. When you compare apples and oranges…that cracks me up.

    Grab yourself a bucket (as has been stated) and go down to the river, childrens, and git as much as you can! It’s all free! Go dig a latrine in your back yard.

    This monthly rate amount will be akin to a 12-pack if that, and by the looks of some of you, you could go without.

    Smoke that.

  • Guest333

    They can’t crawl back down that low, there are already venomous snakes under those rocks and they can’t all fit!! They have to stay visibly awkward and exposed for their own incompetence and ineptitude.

    Do you think the Slime known as the CFPUA is ever going take responsibility for anything?

    If it isn’t the City’s fault, it was the aging pipes fault, and it has always been our fault for expecting a basic necessity.

    Recently, everyone needed a shower after returning home from their “stinking” Board Meeting and everyone took an extra long one.

    Aawwww, do we sound MAD as HEL*, youbetcha we are, and we are rallying to fight back hard now!!

  • Guest333

    Stay and Fight these Bast***’s! We need to run these SOB’s out of here instead.

    I hear the strain that you are feeling and I for one don’t want you to leave Wilmington because you are too good to leave!

    The elite “Wilmingtonians”, and the status quo lifetime type politicians do indeed treat the “summer visitors” as welcomed guests… BUT when the “summer visitors” decide to move here, they soon learn the MYTH of Southern Hospitality!! I know I learned the rancorous ways very quickly as I saw the, well lets see….. the

    Arrogance, Ambivilance, Crudeness, Rudeness, Ineptitude, Incompetence, Excuses, Abuses, Corruption, Self-Serving, Rancorous, Deceitful and Obnoxious likes of County Officials, County Commissioners and City Council Members.

    But when it comes to the CFPUA Board, the utter and absolute contempt that they have shown toward their own neighbors, friends, church family, and those intelligent individuals who spoke before them questioning the rates and making honest suggestions for bonified FAIR change was DISPICABLE!!!

    Run these idiots out of town instead. I’ll help you, by continuing to call the big talker FM, Senator Goolsbys office and even by supporting Brian Berger. He spoke up against a rate increase in the form of his vote, and suffers “unpopularity” from the rest of the Board bullies. don’t leave:,)

  • Guest722

    Just a comment to Jessica… No you can’t put in a well if water is on your street… The only thing you can do is put in a well for watering the lawns/ Which I just put one in and it is well worth the $3000.00 I paid for it….But CFPUA can’t keep raising their rates with NO one to answer to… The time has come for the people to take a stand…

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Because of my career I lived in many states over the past forty years, and have occasionally run into these type of agencies before.

    Every place I encountered a water or sewer authority, I was given the option to pay an assessment only, or an assessment and connection charge. In other words, you couldn’t escape the cost of water and sewer running past your house and being offered to you, but you did not have to connect.

    CFPUA, however, evidently mandates connection.

    Can anyone point out the relevant portions of the state Constitution or General Statutes that grants them such overreaching power? Quite frankly, I see little difference between mandatory connection and that idiotic demand that we all buy health insurance. They are both indicative of unbridled tyranny.

    Has anyone ever challenged mandatory connection in court?

  • IAmNotSuperman

    I did not whine that my spouse is not getting even a small cost of living increase, much less a raise. A lot of people haven’t. But I think a lot of people are very naive thinking that the water that comes from their faucet is free and that when they flush their toilets, the waste magically goes through a rainbow where pink unicorns drink it and leprechauns dance.

    And yes, that water comes from the Cape Fear river, so it’s not a joke.

  • IAmNotSuperman

    Lab work contracted out is a great idea in theory, if it does indeed save money, but in practice, especially when you have to perform certain bacteriological tests within very strict time and environmental concerns, it is highly impractical.

    Regulations require certain things to be tested regularly and, in cases of spills or contamination or emergencies, further tests and frequencies are required.

    No one is implying it’s good business to increase costs. However, there were/are two projects that are not new that had or have to be done. One was the wastewater treatment plant on 23rd Street and the other one (still ongoing) is the expansion of Sweeney Water Treatment.

    The new project, the nanoplant in Ogden, was necessary to support that growing and expanding part of Wilmington. The infrastructure simply wasn’t there. We can either have the infrastructure in place to support growth or we can keep the infrastructure we have now and then complain later about the dying economy.

  • sevenseas

    If there were a dozen options on the table people would still be belly-aching….first it was “get the government out of our business” now that the government (City of Wilmington) is out of the water business it’s we don’t have any options, if there were options it would be something else….what a bunch of whiners, pay your water bills and shut up!!!!

  • IAmNotSuperman

    What I saw was that a few employees got their salaries or wages aligned at the same levels that other NC employees make for the same job. They were not raises; rather, these few employees finally got the pay they deserved or they would have bolted.

    I also know a few positions that I don’t think are needed, but eliminating them certainly would be just a drop in the bucket. You are also incorrect in stating that ‘not a former city/county employee was hired at the top of their [sic] salary range.’ That is not true, as I know personally of a few who did.

  • Guest1212

    It is time that the people of New Hanover County take a stand.. Instead of just writing letters and making phone calls, lets boycott the CFPUA. If we all just mail them 1/2 of our bills lets see how long they can keep running. I bet they would cut their bugdet. This has to be a total boycott and not just a few people….
    If we stick together we can win this… but we need all the people…

    It’s time we take a stand !!!!!

  • taxpayeriam

    They can not have a rate hike unless the commissioner and board vote for the increase.Is this correct?

  • taxpayeriam

    Their was a request for the sample to be contracted out not pay for new lab equipment for $135 grand plus.That would reduce the number of lab employees that is over 8 people would reduce cost over $300 grand a year.You need to do more research and tell me why this is good business for the tax payers and why they would put in a permanent increase for a bond that is due now. The reason cfpua was created was because Wilmington has done what they are doing now spending money on buying and building new projects instead of taking care of the the older ones,it moved the cost to the hold county instead of Wilmington.Just look at what is going on with the waste problem “build it but don’t maintain it” spend money on other things the hole government system is out of control when it comes to being responsible to the tax payers and the way the are spending the money.We have pay because they needed to upgrade to cover the convention center and PPD put downtown tax money paid for this through the bond then Wilmington dumped it on the county and Wilmington residents by creating cfpua,causing double the cost to tax payers.Smart move by the Wilmington elected how do you like your elected now.

  • Raises did happen

    Being a former employee of CFPUA I saw raises happen, but only for select staff. It was absurd and that is why I left. Not only was select staff overpaid, but all staff that was hired new and not a former city/county employee was hired at the top of their salary range. They all should get a deduction in pay. There needs to be an evaluation of staff and salary because I personally know of 5 positions that could be cut. I would hate to see people lose their jobs, but I got out and found another job. These prices are getting rediculous and this is just to stay afloat. Next it will raise rates to pay employees. Something needs to be done!!! Investigate like ABC

  • Guest00714

    So why would they make so many false promisis that they never intended to keep. Every since they took over it has been one issue to the next with them….I wish they would go back to where ever they came from!!!!

  • rocketdog

    1. Annexed approx 15 yrs ago- STILL using well water.
    2. “Poop in the river”- they have enough leaks and breaks putting poop in our waterways. How many last year?
    3. Okay, the trash service is good. I’ll give you that. Feel better?
    It’s not the hourly employees, it’s their bosses and the fabulous board running it.
    And, I actually do have some knowledge of water and wastwater treatments and their costs. I currently pay $80/mo for 2 people, 2 bathroom home- just for sewer/trash/stormwater. Did I mention we’re still on a well? oh yeah. It’s going up another 13%.

  • proudone

    Brian Berger thank you for voting against the cfpua increase. Thank you for keeping your word and looking out for families like us who are hurting right now. We can’t afford all these new taxes and rate increases our income has gone down not up, and we’re luckier than most. Thank you for standing strong against all the critics who love to attack you. We support what you’re trying to do and appreciate your courage and it must be hard when others on the board will stop at nothing it seems to destroy you and wway joins in attacking you unfairly. we know the hate is politically motivated and families like mine that voted for you are glad we did…please dont stop fighting for us. we support you. please folks thank brian berger for voting against more taxes and the cfpua increased rates. A breath of fresh air who cares…we have that in brian…sure he’s not perfect but he’s the real deal people say they want then allow others to destroy when they finally get an honest person in office. brian-we voted for you and would do it again in a heartbeat…now about those others who bash you…

  • You’re either brave or stupid posting this garbage. GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

  • Rosegarden

    I did a lot of complaining when we were annexed. This is how the City of Wilmington boosts revenue when the current citizens’ backs are broken. I neither needed nor wanted to be a part of the city of Wilmington. But, as Monkey Junction is finding out now, no one will listen. If Monkey Junstion had stepped up to protest when the Echo Farms area was being devoured, the wolf would not be at their door today!
    The worst part of all of that was, not that I had to pay to connect, not that I had to pay for the labor and materials, also, they actually charge a PRIVILEGE FEE! That’s right! I had to pay the City of Wilmington when I was forced to give them the privilege to take my money and my freedom! Can you say SAXON HOARD!!!! Can you say HOSTILE TAKEOVER!!! You can’t say no one complained when the City was in control of the water! I don’t want ANYONE in MY pockets, especially cFpUa! (ps. that is the check they have to cash to get my money – written to cFpUa – but the F & U are much bigger)
    Still Hostile at “Independence” Blvd.

  • x

    Wow not in 3 years. Join the rest of the group! As state workers have not gotten a raise in 3 years either. Nobody is helping us out either but by rasing taxes and water bills. Please if you think that the admin is thinking about your husband then you are crazy. I hate it when the workers or there spouses come on here and try and defend the same people who by your quote has not given him a raise in 3 years and none this year. Be mad and let the rest of the public be mad. We are beaucse of the non raises or cost of living or anything in over 3 years. We work hard and your husband probably does also. And getting water from the river thats crazy and for you to sugest this as a joke. No jokes here people are already cutting back and now we are going to have cut back more now. People who were once living with a cushion are not doing this anymore and now having to live paycheck to paycheck not because of spending but just trying to live. So get off the soap box and allow people to be upset.

  • Jessica

    The CFPUA is formed by former County employees and City of Wilmington workers who were forced to come together. The City of Wilmington employess who were acustomed to sitting on thier a**es all day and doing nothing for a paycheck (which is why all of the water line breaks and sewege spills are happening) are the ones who need furlough days and no raises! I feel sorry for the New Hanover County workers who were forced into working with the City employees and having to be the ones to repair everything they screwed up! They deserve thier pay!!! As for everyone who is upset about the rates and price increases, ect… You always have the option to pay the cost to put in a well, pay the monthly cost for salt to keep the water from bieng rusty and the maintenance if it breaks. If this appears to be to much work for you, too time consuming, or too costly, I would suggest you shut up the whining and pay your bill!

  • Rosegarden

    Because it has been several YEARS for us. I know this because it is under about 5 inches of undisturbed earth, and no it isn’t one of the new ones that can be read electronically. Three people in this house, who no longer bathe regularly, no washing machine, dishes by hand with minimal use, and we pay $170+ for each bill. Meanwhile, the trailer park next to us has a trailer that POURS water out the pipes whenever they turn it on, so lucky thing WE are conserving. (sic)
    There was nothing wrong with my well or my septic, when I was forced to get city water, there’s nothing wrong with it now that I can no longer afford city water.
    Maybe it is time for us to protest, loudly outside of their offices?
    and should they change the acronym to cpFUa? Because that is the attitude they have toward us!
    Let me know if you want to protest…I’ll hold off on my weekly bath.
    If not, I start collecting rainwater, so I can get clean again. and I can always poo at McDonalds.

  • Guest1

    CFPUA are the biggest bunch of crooks around. Right up there with everybody else with their hands in your pockets trying to screw you in every way possible for their own financial gain. It’s only gonna get worse. We are slaves to them and will always be.

  • daver

    Yeah have less government is a good thing BUT, you say free market or monopoly at work? Just like in Brunswick County, most are stuck with ATMC, no other options. So when you say free market, that means more than one option, this is just not the case.

  • rosegarden

    I would cry for you, but I can’t afford to waste water!

  • Beast27

    Its amazing that a body such as this, has no citizen oversight. They raise rates, the same as raising taxes, and there is nothing we as citizens can do about it. We cant go to the polls and vote the adminstration out of office. They are appointed and basically call thier own shots, similar to the way the ABC board worked in the past. And I thought the whole purpose was to give us better service and lower rates, I am paying almost $150 every two months for trash,water,sewer, and storm water. Geez thanks for all the help CFPUA!

  • Guest00714

    Im so tired of all the increases and no wage increases. Wilmington wonders why there is so much crime here. it is very difficult to keep your head above water in this city. Im ready to pack up and leave the city i love so much!!! they treat visitors to wilmington better then locals. Im just tired!!!

  • Guest3230

    because they are paying employee’s like Carey Ricks $85,500.00/yr to “Speak For Them”. What else doe’s she do that warrents this high of a salary? Is there somthing im missing here? Your rates will continue to go up as long as they pay outragous salaries like this.

  • keith w reiss

    Please publish:

    Names addresses telephone numbers and email addresses of each authority member.

    Political affiliations of each.

    Method of removal.


  • Guest2264

    Gee, wasn’t it just a few short years ago they were telling all of us to “conserve” water because of the drought conditions and low water tables? Now that we have, our rate is always well below the minimum, yet we’re still paying higher rates! Looks like we’ll never win this battle.

  • IAmNotSuperMan

    As a spouse of a long-suffering CFPUA employee, I can testify that no employee at CFPUA has gotten a raise in the past 3 years nor will anyone be getting any raises this year. The employees are already working with slashed budgets, even while the costs of supplies (such as chemicals used for wastewater and water treatment) have gone up.

    To all who complain about your water bill, I ask… why don’t you take a bucket, go to the Cape Fear River, put some of that water in the bucket then use it for your daily water needs? It’s free… of course, you’ll probably get sick because that water is not treated and, when you start treating it, it will be costly because proper treatment requires costly chemicals, and ozone, and huge basins, and who knows what else… No, a Brita filter won’t help you here.

    How are you going to deal with your waste products? You can’t just dump your poop in the river.

    I don’t think many of you have any idea of what it takes to run water and wastewater treatment systems and distribution systems, all of which were inherited from the City of Wilmington in decrepit conditions. Some of the infrastructure is so old that if it is not fixed it will slow down whatever sort of economic and residential growth Wilmington will seek to do in the near future.

    Any infrastructure improvements CFPUA will have to do at some point are usually funded by bonds. CFPUA, like all other governmental agencies and municipalities, obtains credit based on its bond rating. In order to maintain its bond rating, it has to be able to keep its debts low. It’s a sad reality, but if you want to get better infrastructure to serve the needs of people in Wilmington then things need to get done. This means having to procure funds and, in turn, raising rates on customers.

    I agree that paying a salary of $60K for a secretary is too much. I disagree that paying the same for a lab supervisor is too much. A lab supervisor is a scientist who must hold the appropriate degrees (at least bachelor’s level), licenses and certifications. I don’t want some high school reject to do chemical and bacteriological analysis on water… do you?

    So, please don’t take it out on CFPUA employees. They, like everyone else, haven’t had raises for 3 years and won’t be getting raises.

  • rocketdog

    That’s what you get for conserving water~jacked up rates AGAIN!! Way to go AUTHORITY! This is just unbelievable…

  • everyonehasaopinion

    I am really tired of hearing CFPUA’s excuses for raising rates. When they first took over we were suppose to have lower rates.What we recieved was months of messed up billing and this will be there third increase. First it was all the repairs they had to do, which they should have had checked out before they took over. Enough is enough!!! I am just about sick with it all, seems like we just keep paying for bad decisions from Congress to New Hanover County. Everything is going up Taxes,Homeowners Insurance,utilities,food and gas. Everything but our pay, Yet they get there 40 hour week jobs, bonuses and benefits. I say let the House and Senate go without a months pay and see how they will like what is going on since they are making decisions for us and CFPUA needs to get out of bussiness if they don’t know how budget. I am sure there is a lot us that could show them all how to budget and balance a check book with 100.00 to last for two weeks.

  • GuestHelp

    I can’t affors my water bill as it is.. I am over $500 behind, no leaks,only two kids averaging #200 a month.. This is so unfair.. So unjust… And remember.. Your Cunnty Comissioners approved this hike.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    The way this Frankenstein was stitched together the PUC cannot regulate them. CFPUA has no oversight whatsoever! They could pass another increase next month.

    Call your state senators and legislators. Demand that they pass a law that places these quasi-governmental tyrants under some sort of regulating body.

    The time for complaining and doing nothing is over. Start standing up for yourselves! Only Raleigh can fix this mess.

  • sevenseas

    Hey folks, you wanted the “government” to take their hands out of your pockets, they did. CFPUA is not the government, this is the free market at work, now how’s it working out for you….I didn’t hear all of this belly-aching when the City of Wilmington was in the water business so quit your moaning and groaning and pay your water bills!!!

  • Guested

    New Hanover County employees have taken reductions in pay for 2 years now through furlough to help balance the county’s budget. Has CFPUA done this with their employees?

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