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WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE FROM CFPUA) — The Finance Committee of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) voted today to recommend to CFPUA’s full board that it adopt a new rate structure for Fiscal Year 2014.

The new structure would move the Authority away from its current three-tiered rate structure to one that combines the use of a conservation block with a uniform rate.

Under the proposal, the average residential customer using 10,000 gallons bi-monthly would see a rate increase that will address more than $25 million dollars in future sewer and water infrastructure projects, as well as increased operating costs and service on CFPUA’s debt. An average residential customer will see their bill rise $4.90 a month or $9.80 every billing period. CFPUA’s billing cycle is every other month.

The recommended proposal now moves to CFPUA’s full board for consideration. A public meeting will be held in the Lucie Harrell Conference Room located in the New Hanover County Administration Building, 230 Government Center Drive in Wilmington. The hearing will commence at 6:00 P.M., on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at which time any person may be heard regarding water and sewer rates.

CFPUA’s monthly board meeting will commence immediately following the public hearing. Copies of the proposed rate models will be available for review at the office of the Authority Clerk, on March 7, 2013, or be found online at www.cfpua.org.

A vote on the rate proposals will occur at CFPUA’s April board meeting. The recommended rate proposal will provide a new conservation rate and will place customers who are not in the conservation block under a uniform rate. The new conservation block takes into account the current realities about water conservation to appropriately capture those customers who are using little or no water. Under this proposal, based on historical consumption, 32% of ALL usage would still fall within the proposed conservation block. ALL residential customers would still receive the lowest rate for usage under 6,000 gallons – $2.90 per 1,000 gallons – which is less than the cost to produce the water.

“Our Finance Committee has worked diligently and has looked at a variety of proposals in order to strike a balance between the financial impact on our customers and the overall benefit of ensuring our water and wastewater systems are sustainable well into the future,” said Matt Jordan, CFPUA CEO. “The committee took into account the need to invest in our infrastructure while maintaining our work to keep our rates at the lowest practicable cost. We must incorporate the same costs of doing business that other organizations and businesses budget for in order to properly operate and maintain our water and wastewater systems.”

Two other proposals will also be reported out to the full board on March 13.

One details the rates and costs associated with a uniform rate for ALL customers and the other involved the rates and costs involved under a four-tier rate system that also focuses on appropriately capturing conservation. The board may reject the Finance Committee’s recommendation and either choose one of other two proposals or an entirely new proposal.

In addition to the public hearing on March 13, CFPUA recently announced the launch of an expanded community outreach program. It includes a presentation about CFPUA that discusses the recommended rate proposal. Interested homeowners associations, civic organizations and community groups are invited to contact CFPUA to schedule a meeting by contacting Mike McGill, CFPUA’s Chief Communications Officer, at communications@cfpua.org or by phone at 332-6704.

The sessions can be scheduled during morning, afternoon and evening hours and can fit into existing organization meeting times.

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