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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Billing issues continue with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. This time its a county-owned property facing significant back billing.

CFPUA recently hit Airlie Gardens with a nearly $7,000 bill. For Airlie Gardens Director Jim McDaniel, it’s tough pill to swallow.

“We received a notice that the bill for Airlie Gardens, that particular property where we have a lift station, had not been billed their sewer rates for about approximately four years, and the bill is almost $7,000,” McDaniel said.

Airlie’s bill is only a small part of what CFPUA has been and will be back billing countywide.

For McDaniel, the bill was a surprise for which the facility did not budget.

“We are a large company basically, and we have the ability to tighten our belts to do that as a county,” he said. “So you know, I’m sure it was a shock to others as well.”

McDaniel was especially surprised because the county and CFPUA went over the billing for Airlie years ago, because the utility charges Airlie for handling storm water, even though the gardens don’t give off storm water. In fact, Airlie takes in four million gallons of run-off each year.

The CFPUA says it is trying to deal with each of its customers involved in the back billing fairly.

“We have not had a conversation with them about storm water,” CFPUA Service Director Nancy Johnson said about Airlie. “That account was set up by the city to bill them, and so we have not have a conversation with them as the authority about that account. Certainly if they had questions or concerns we’d be glad to work with them.”

Regardless, McDaniel says Airlie plans to pay the full bill.

The park is just one of more than 400 customers impacted for a total back billed amount of about $380,000.

The CFPUA says the back billing has been going on the past 18 months because of human errors made setting up these accounts by the city, county and authority when it was formed in 2008.

Comment on this Story

  • Are these people actually drawing a salary? If they are then for what reason?

  • Guest info

    Assistance with reporting possible shady financial record-keeping issues or requesting the state look into the CFPUA business practices can be requested by any county taxpayer or CFPUA customer by calling toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM for assistance.Give them the approximate date range of the billing questions.

  • Guest7969

    The problem is…this is REALLY still a hidden government agency….and it’s continuing to run like one!

  • taxpayer

    but we, the taxpayers, get hit again with another bill since “we” own Airlie Gardens. All this from a quasi-governmental agency who couldn’t find their butt in the dark…with both hands.

  • Ken

    There should come a time where CFPU would be held responsible for a portion of their part in the billing errors/ Granted the bills were created by the customers, however, the question is why wern’t the meters being read by meter readers. How did they suddenly come to read them now? Did someone drop the ball at set up time when CFPU was created? I agree these bills need to be corrected however CFPU should absorb some of the loss as most customers were probably paying the bills sent to them without knowledge that errors had been made, according to this article, by all parties when setting up the CFPU Authority. Share the pain. I am aware of the short comings of CFPU as I stopped getting my bill after they took over and when I went to them I was told my account was current, which I knew was incorrect. I chose to pay them an amount equal to my average bill each month until they got it straight. When they thought they had it straight and I started getting bills, my first bill was for over 6 months until I produced receipts proving payment so everyone should share some pain in this fiasco, including CFPU.

  • Bill Waterman

    What’s the problem here? Airlie didn’t get a bill for four years and they never questioned it. At some point four years ago they were paying for water; they probably divided the last year’s bill by 12 and got an average so they must have budgeted for it. Why didn’t they question after three maybe four month of no bills? The same with the others who are suddenly billed after X number of years: Gee I wonder hay I haven’t had a water bill in several months? A couple of years ago I missed a bill–one month–since it came on the same day every month, I called up and asked for the bill. I didn’t want to suddenly get a double bill. I’m not budgeted for a double bill. I have to pay over time on time. I certainly wouldn’t have sat back and let the bills pile up for several months or SEVERAL YEARS!

    Or is the CFPUA making all this up? Do they suddenly realize Hey we haven’t been billing this address for several years. I guess we’ll demand an exorbitant back payment ALL AT ONCE!


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