20 Comments for this article

Tags: , , , ,


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Most of us cannot imagine living without water, but there are hundreds of people in New Hanover County who will spend Christmas without it. A Wilmington woman we spoke with today decided to do something about it. Yesterday she donated $10,000 to help out.

“I wanted to, and I wanted to give more,” Betty Palmer said. “I wish it could have been more.”

But to many, Palmer’s $10,000 donation was more than enough. After reading about the hundreds of families in New Hanover County without water this holiday season, Palmer decided to help.

“I told my son this morning that I feel like I am giving for what I haven’t gave in the past, and that I’m making up for it this time,” she said.

More than 500 homes in the county are without water. To turn it back on would take an estimated $100,000.

County Commissioner Rick Catlin also serves on the CFPUA Board. He says this problem is one the authority needs to address.

“This was not an intended consequence when we formed the authority, but it’s a very real consequence, and we need to find a way to solve it,” Catlin said.

CFPUA is waving the extra fees and penalties that come along with the unpaid bills, but that still leaves so many with no way to pay for the necessity.

“That’s a third-world situation, and we’re not Haiti. We’re the United States of America. We can do better than that,” Catlin said.

Palmer said, “If you don’t have water, you’re right down to the nitty-gritty. I mean that is down to the very bottom of the barrel. And if you don’t have water, you can’t be clean, you can’t cook. You can’t cook without water.”

Palmer, who initially wanted to stay anonymous, says she spoke out in hopes others see just how important it is to lend a hand.

To donate to help get the water turned back on for these families in need, you can send a check to the county or the United Way (http://www.uwcfa.org/). In the memo section write “For Waterless Citizens.”

Comment on this Story

  • Guest2012

    what a wonderful gesture. It’s a shame that it is only 20% of what they county claims it would cost to turn this water back on. why would it cost @ 200 dollars per home to turn the water back on. in the interest in decent humanity why wouldn’t the county apply the monies to general recovered debt. then more than just 50 residents fees would be able to turn their water on. truth be told this donation will more than likely reach pockets already full instead of those in need. god bless

  • Jerry

    I have an idea. Take the $100,000+ the CFPUA planned to pay out in bonuses and cut the people’s water back on. In my opinion CFPUA is partly to blame due to their billing snafu after taking over from the county.

  • GuestThrifty

    I buy gallon jugs of water (for 99 cents) at the grocery store for drinking. It’s cheaper than paying CFPUA rates, and I don’t have to pay sewer charges.

    For bathing, I have a shower that has one of those low-flow shower heads to save on water. I also use rain water to water my flowers (no flowers this time of year).

    I don’t agree with letting people have water for free, while the rest of us are conserving and managing to pay. But I do think the water/sewer bills are too high in general. I’ve heard of some people have $200-$500 water bills. That’s just ludricrous!

  • Guest1946

    In my personal opinion, any utility that will shut off someone’s water is as despicable as they come. People can do without electricity, but food and water are necessities. By law, the utility should be made to cut water on to those who have lost service for non-payment at least 3 times a day so they can bathe and flush their toilet. That would be just basic human decency. Someone needs to step up to the plate and deal with this bunch of low-lifes at CFPUA who treat people like this.

  • Really?

    Do you really want the CFPUA to send employees (probably meter readers) out to every home that has had the water turned off, and turn it on/off three times a day? Do some math…besides the dozens of extra employees it would take to accomplish that, think of the cost factor involved…fuel, pay, etc.

    Your really asking for a rate increase aren’t you? Please don’t give them any ideas.

    Remember…water is free. Just go down to the river and truck home all you can. Of course you should bear in mind that we are geographically located near the bottom end of the river…with lots of hog lagoons and hundereds of sewer permits dumping into the river above us. But, hey…it’s free. Go get it.

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    If you can’t pay your bills like the rest of us, you shouldn’t get free service. Does this mean I can just stop paying and get it for free? Then no one would pay.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    When did this country ever get the crazy notion that an individual’s food and water was somehow a government provided entitlement? Do people have ANY responsibility for providing for themselves?

    You need water to drink – that’s ALL, and you can get that via a rain barrel or boiling water from a local source. Or, you can find a water fountain at a park, the mall, or large stores and drink your fill.

    Daily bathing didn’t come into fashion until the Twenties and Thirties. In the Nineteenth Century, our great grandparents often went a week or more without bathing.

    WimMAJ hit the nail on the head – if you want water to drink, cook, bathe, and flush, TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE and either pay your bill to your water provider or find a natural source of water.

  • Sad state of affairs

    While I applaud Mrs. Palmer’s generous donation, I think it is a shame that someone has to donate WATER to the needy. We know that the infrastructure was neglected, we know that CFPUA was formed to take the heat off of the City and the County, we know that they are running in the red….but, when people can’t afford WATER, something in our local society is seriously flawed. We have to be willing to admit that a mistake has been made and if tax monies have to subsidize the authority until some of these investment s in infrastructure can be paid for them so be it. It’s WATER, and nobody can live without it.

  • WX_Guy

    This is a nice story about a generous, caring person. Do you think it is really a good idea to post her signature? Think security.

  • Guestfedup

    God Bless you, Mrs. Palmer

  • Guest1946

    I know you’re one of the “kill ’em all, let God sort them out” kind of guys, but there should be some provision to let people have enough water to survive on regardless of their financial situation. As the the cute remark about free river water……….you drink the first glass and I will drink the second.

  • Really?

    I’ll just pay my bill when it comes in without crying too much. Water, in the big scheme of things, is still relatively cheap considering its delivered to my house on demand, and they take it away when I’m done with it.

    Do we want to go back to the days of hauling our water and digging latrines? When you consider what it really costs for the service (less than some folks pay for cable/internet, etc.)…it’s really quite inexpensive.

    As for the comparison about electricity and water utilities…see how long you’ll go without electricity when you decide not to pay that bill. In Minnesota…it’s really kind of important this time of year.

    Most people are just mad their bills have gone up…but considering that NHC subsidizing their customers…and COW wasn’t maintaining it, did folks really think the price was going to remain the same?

  • Guest21

    We’re not in Minnesota. Even so, quite a few up there do without electricity every year when snow and ice brings down trees and power lines. There are generators and Kerosuns to be had if you have not noticed. You can survive without electricity, but water is much harder to do without.

  • Guest1118

    What a wonderful donation that was! And thanks to Rick Catlin for bringing this situation to light.

    It seems like the CPFUA could have some kind of provision or something; a payment plan of $5 week maybe, for those who are behind. Or maybe the CEO Matt Jordan could take a pay cut from his $200,000+ a year salary and actually make what is more in line with salaries (NON-GOVT) in this area. Just an idea.

  • Really?

    Sooo…they are behind…and 5 dollars a week is going to catch them up? These bills occur monthly…it’s kind of like charging on your credit card, and only making the minimum payment. You would be worm-dirt before that bill gets paid off.

    Now, as to your other commment…Matt Jordan makes a fair wage for his performance as CEO, but it’s not 200K…look it up on WSN. Now then, look at what other CEO’s make in Wilmington. Billy Williams was making 100K above what Matt Jordan makes pushing liquer! If you’re going to sling barbs from your little soap box, first you have to bring facts (just a minor point).

    Recommend calling 800 GET-CLUE.

  • Really?

    You pay .99 cents a gallon for drinking water at the store, and that is cheaper than CFPUA rates? You are on drugs. CFPUA water is, on average, about .01 – .03 cents a gallon or something like that. (I’m sure it’s on their website if you care to look.)

    If you bought the bottled water equivalent to the amount of CFPUA water you use a month we would be talking about thousands of dollars. This just demonstrates how ignorant folks are. Go buy 12,000 gallons of water at the store and tell me what your bill amount would be.

    I feel sorry for people that truly do not have enough money to pay a water bill…and am happy that there are folks that will pick up the slack through United Way and other social service/charity networks, BUT…CFPUA will always be fighting a losing battle against people who are too stupid to do basic math.

  • Really?

    You pay .99 cents at the store for drinking water…CFPUA water is, I believe, about .01 – .03 cents a gallon. If you bought the equivalent amount of bottled water at the store that you use at home per month, you would be talking about monthly bills of 1000 dollars, probably.

    They (CFPUA) face an uphill battle for sure when people are that dim! To the other poster…you’re right, we’re not in Minnesota! They have an education system up there as compared to the system that churns out the ignoramuses around heah!

  • Brian

    Yes, there were billing problems, but we were NEVER harassed by CFPUA about what we owed when we finally got a bill. Never once did they call to demand payment, and we simply paid what we could until the balance was gone.

  • Jane Doe

    If only we all followed this kind and generous soul. I applaud her for following her heart and actually putting her checkbook where her heart is. Whether or not we believe in God, or Karma….giving to the needy is always the best road to follow.

    For those of you that consider yourselves above caring for those in need, God Bless You, regarding these types of things, the score is kept above, or wherever your God or philosophy lives.


    In 2009, CFPUA was faced with a dilemma. The City of Wilmington had been providing for elderly and disabled credit, but a year after consolidating water and sewer services, that assistance program was terminated by the City. CFPUA, by the very statue that set up the consolidated entity, is bound to charge and treat each account holder the same. Translated, CFPUA was nor is not able to provide discounts or credits. The solution; put together an assistance program to be administered by a 3rd party. In 2009, CFPUA did just that. We started conversations with two very capable community organizations, the United Way and the Salvation Army, to form the CFPUA Assist – Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program (the very program referred to without name in this article via donation to United Way). That program took a year to put together and collect donations before assistance began in early 2011. That first year, the employees of CFPUA themselves made personal contributions to the program totaling half of the assistance available for the year. The other half came from the United Way Board. CFPUA employees gave $3,000 and United Way also gave $3,000. For 2012, CFPUA employees opened their pockets again and gave yet another $3,000. United Way and Salvation Army have worked hard to properly manage this program and have made disbursements to help community households and families. This program, spoken about many times in open public and televised meetings and even featured in a WWAY interview in March of this year, is an important program when limited assistance currently exists for our neighbors in need. Additional information and the opportunity for you to contribute is (and has been) available on the CFPUA website at http://www.cfpua.org. Select the CFPUA Assist link in the bottom left hand corner. Thank you for your interest in this program and helping those in need.


Related News