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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has had its fair share of critics since its conception, but the critics aren’t showing up at meetings to voice their concerns. The authority’s board held a budget workshop and public hearing Wednesday night, but no one signed up to ask questions.

The board discussed more than $750,000 dollars in raises for 285 CFPUA employees, a topic that typically gets people fired up. Two did speak about personal billing issues, but neither asked questions about the budget or potential employee raises.

“We moved this to the evening time, starting at six, with the whole idea that maybe people could come out after they got off work or something like that, because this is something that affects everyone,” said Charlie Rivenbark, a CFPUA board member and Wilmington City Councilman.

A recommended $36.7 million operating budget for the authority’s fiscal year 2013 was suggested, which adds up to about $300,000 less than last year.

“We’re trimming and getting this budget as lean as we can, trying to hold any rate increase to the bare bones minimum,” Rivenbark said.

The proposed budget also includes adding two staffing positions and a nearly 5 percent employee salary increase from last year. Board chairman Jim Quinn says added compensation is something the board has thought about for months, despite another possible rate hike.

“Several of the surrounding governments had given their employees bonuses and [we] recognized that they hadn’t had raises in a number of years,” Quinn said.

Board members say they hope more people will start showing up to the meetings and voicing their questions and concerns.

“I understand how hard it is,” Rivenbark said. “People going home with children and supper and they’re tired. And you know, we’re tired. We all work other jobs.”

The board will vote on the budget June 13th. The new fiscal year will begin July first.

Comment on this Story

  • guesthere

    i end up paying over a hundred dollars for water sewer and trash i live alone in a 1 bed apartment and have the cheapest rate possible according to cape fear public utility but what do they do for me they fail at sending out bills fail at putting an online bill paying system up they fail at everything to do with themselves they charge to much absolute horrible customer service and when they fail at sending out your bill they don’t alert you just cut off the water so please everyone go to these meetings they want to waste our money don’t let them just because they are the monopoly of water here in wilmington does not mean we should sanction the idiotic acts of greed and just plain crappy service

  • Guest CommonTater

    TRAFFIC ALERT: Due to a water main break expect delays on 23rd St. near MLK Pkwy

    Can you say Boondoggle boys and girls?

  • Wilmington Observer

    As “anti-government” as I am, I believe your post to be unfair. Your elected officials can’t “protect” you if you don’t let them know that you need protecting.

    Wilmington Observer

  • just because nobody can take time out of their busy lives to come to a stupid meeting doesn`t give cfpua the justification to give people raises. just like the baseball thing.if we don`t show up for every meeting to fight it off they are going to shove it down our throats !
    that is NOT how things are supposed to work. we are supposed to be able to trust our elected officials and people in charge of the cfpua . not screw us when nobody is looking !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Customer

    …the critics are wrong? There are always critics, and they often believe the louder they yell the more right they are. But, they can be single-minded and when caught on their facts, they have a tendency to double-down to overcompensate ignorance.

  • Government Mule

    Anyway, no one was at the meeting because they have been before and were of course, just ignored. Like maybe a pile of dog crap on the carpet. They see the customers but just turn their nose up and hope someone gets rid of the nasty mess. The customers were probably at home sharpening pitchforks and preparing torches…

  • Guest4

    How could attend the meeting? I can read about the meeting afterwords here. Why did the media keep so quite???

  • Guestin

    I agree it show us that cfpua is crooked as bill saffo Will do what they want no matter what we have to say they have a monopoly on water service which should be illegal. cancelThe ball park and give them a raise from that money, not from my pocket,I work with county and have had no raise in five years. Where do you Getty that money from.

  • cintrek

    No shows should tell you something. Your customers know that their voices aren’t heard so why waste their precious time. Some of us work all hours to pay the bills not just 9-5. In the 4yrs that the CFPUA has started my sewer bill has gone UP 48% but my income has gone down 50% & my budget has been completely trimmed. I’m driving a 14yr old small car-how about you general manager?

  • Guest7969

    that guy makes triple digits! He’s driving a NICE CAR!

  • guesty

    Just as the public has learned from city council and county commissioners, cFpUa will do as they please. They all sit there and pretend to listen and then do as they want.

  • waterwasted@gmail.com


    Since posting this, unrelated, I find myself talking more with neighbors, family, and friends – mostly stadium stuff and tryin to guess if my property taxes will go up or down, its meant to confuse or Lord meant for me to have a low IQ.

    Brian Berger was the voice of the people, he spoke up whenever the county or CFPUA doled out hundreds of thousands to “consultants” (other than “spend more on marketing” and “print shiny brochures” for the landfill, the consultants with no possible reasonable counter-argument waste of our taxes or the people who should be listening are too busy texting ways to make money for themselves)

    It probably wasnt easy for Berger to be outnumber 10-1 or 5-1 or whatever, putting principles first…meanwhile, the architects of this whole CFPUA mess Jim Quinn, Jason Thompson, lobbyists for the biggest builders, sit on their high chairs and show their arrogance and disdain for the families they are hurting.

    Berger was not impressed with Catlin wasting time and money to get rid of this threat I guess, nor am I, how much money on lawyers did Quinn, Thompson and the others who have been at odds ever since Brian Berger attended these “public hearings” and was insulted for making predictions that have been nearly perfect like Nostradamus. (Others are deserving of praise too for standing up to Quinn and his lackey Thompson).

    If the DA Ben David wasn’t “in” the corruption club, there wouldve been investigations and many people including this author might be surprised to find two-faces Catlin profiting himself while pretending to be a fiscally responsible steward of taxpayers money. Only in North Carolina can these things happen, with nobody in any position of authority raising an eyebrow. David and maybe he has orders from the Attorny General, attacks whistleblowers and destroys them before heading to black-tie galas with Mayors, the developers and officials “using” the Utility Authoroty (Quinn, Catlin, Riverbark, Cindy Wolf…).

    Rivenbark- maybe thats why fewer citizens attend each year. Every year in the past they’ve gone, only to be lied to by an organization more mafia than government service, by nature and actions.

    Was it legal to kick Berger off with no hearing, no legal justification, no pamper fights in the parking lot, just he had different priorities…so without a word to the public I still cant figure out how they could do it and so privately. There are other good dedicated citizens who should serve on the CFPUA but would never get a vote from either Council.

    Mr. Jenkins? Mr. Quinn? Mr Davis. Rivenbark? Instead of hiding behind a petite PR spinster (who works for the others), explain. Honesty will bring the crowds Charlie.

  • Wait a minute….I thought they were in such dire straits that they were merging with the county, or going to try to get funds from the county. What happend? How can they afford this? Also, I believe A LOT of us haven’t had a raise in years!!! Why is lack of personal responsibility being rewarded yet again?

  • John Donovan

    CFPUA is not merging with anybody. Slick Rick Catlin, both a County Commission and CFPUA Board Member came up with this idea because CFPUA only has a narrow mission — fix infrastructure and treat drinking water and wastewater.

    CFPUA ratepayers only pay for that and nothing more. Seems the developers and now, the COW and NHC recognize they may have shot themselves in the foot. They can’t use CFPUA as the cash cow they thought they could when they created it. CFPUA does not have the money to run water and sewer lines to swamp land for developers. See? And, it would be seriously unfair to ask their customers to pay for that.

    So, slick Rick (who also runs an engineering firm in town) would get business from those developers, has come up with a scheme to have the county “loan” CFPUA money for that purpose. When the developers tie in to the system, they’ll pay CFPUA, who in turn, will pay the county back.

    Now do you see the problem with City and County Government sitting on the CFPUA board? Meet the new boss…same as the old boss. (Psst..he is running for state legislature this fall, too!)

    As far as their pay…seems like they have done a good job with bubble gum and bailing wire, despite Slick Rick continuint to denegrate them and their worth on TV at the board meetings.

  • Peyton Garrett

    I check posts on several sites usually a couple of times a day. I never saw where there was the availability of a public forum at a board meeting. I am sure it was right in front of Me though. I think the commission should get all of their ducks in a row as to six month sewer leaks that go undetected and were caused by their own workers. Efficiency? I see trucks running up and down the road all the time, two or three people doing nothing. See a truck sitting in the parking lot of our pool and clubhouse, person in the truck. 2 hours later, still sitting. On more than one occasion I might add. Take your raises and pay the damn fines.

  • Mrs.B

    I do the same and was unaware of this meeting. Many CFPUA’s “men on the street” frequent my eating establishment. Although, I enjoy their company, I have often found it strange that their trucks do not turn off. They idle for 30 minutes to an hour easily. So not only is fuel being wasted, these dudes are either on break or stealing time. It is wasteful. This is not for lunch, it is for a snack. I know some of these men work second jobs, I don’t have an issue with the employees. I am concerned with the structure of the job. CFPUA, if you need to save money, could you instruct your men to kill the engine for breaks and possibly limit breaks to a reasonable period. I know this is a government position and one of the benefits is expected to have extra breaks, but times are, or should be, changing.

  • shoglo

    It is nice to see an employer trying to think of its employees. Too many big wigs try to keep the raises to the CEO’s or VP’s and forget about the little man who runs the company by their own hands and labor. In a time where cost of living is increasing faster than salaries this could be good for some local families in need.
    You get better employees that are willing to work harder if they are being taking care.

  • GuestOccasional

    This whole mess called the CFPUA amounts to nothing more than a place where politicians who were hand in glove with developers were asleep at the switch. Both development interests and political interests ignored the aging and under-sized infrastructure in this area while lining their pockets building and selling more and more.

    Somebody needed to be blamed for this mess, consequently the conjuring up of the CFPUA. Now, as we taxpayers and ratepayers swallow the bitter “medicine” brewed by years of neglect, our politicians hold themselves blameless.

    Even if this meeting was well publicized, what would the point be of attending??

  • Politicians-r-weasels

    CFPUA is the illegitimate offspring of a smooth-talking, head-faking NBA basketball player sewing his oats wherever he goes! Now that old player wants to be a baseball man because they also get to spend a lot of nights on the road, too (wink).

    City and County Government is the NBA basketball player… no longer in the picture, they caused this mess. CFPUA just has to try to clean it up and survive the best they know how, (with some of the same ballplayers still riding the bench on the board) and with what they have (not much).

    Some of the fans hate the new kid, but fans cans be fickle and many are wholly ignorant — and maybe a little drunk. They have a short-term memory. They forgot about the old NBA player and how he had his way with them. They don’t care that the team is now broken, and they certainly don’t want to pay higher ticket prices to fix it. They just want to want to occupy the cheap seats, drink beer, and yell. Kind of like right now.

    Quite the sport, isn’t it?


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