WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- The Board of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) voted today to adopt a uniform rate structure for water and sewer services, effective for bills dated May 1. The new structure moves the Authority away from its current three-tiered, conservation-based rate structure to one that uses a set rate for ALL residential and non-residential usage.
Under the uniform rate structure, the average residential customer using 10,000 gallons bi-monthly will see a rate increase that is necessary in order to 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 $5.96 a month or $11.92 every billing period. CFPUA's billing cycle is every other month.
The new structure provides all residential and non-residential customers with the same rate for ALL usage at the approximate cost of water production, $3.42 per 1,000 gallons.
"The Authority established a rate structure when it took over the city and county systems in 2008 that reflected the best of both systems. It established the same rates for all users and also attempted to address the serious drought conditions in effect at the time," CFPUA Board Chair Jim Quinn said. "Each year, the Board of Directors, with the guidance of the staff, has attempted to adjust the rates to fit the realities of the cost of our services while being fair to all users. The uniform rate adopted by the Board accomplishes those goals."
"CFPUA's board and staff reviewed a variety of proposals so we could come up with what we think is the best structure to appropriately balance the impact on our customers with the overall benefit of ensuring our water and wastewater systems are sustainable for years to come," CFPUA CEO Matt Jordan said. "The board took into account the need to invest in our infrastructure and properly operate our water and wastewater systems while keeping the impact of a change in our rate structure to a reasonable level. We believe this approach balances those needs for the betterment of the community we serve."
CFPUA's board voted for the uniform rate structure in an eight to three vote. No other votes were taken. Several other proposals were made over the few months. One plan, recommended by CFPUA's Finance Committee, detailed the rates and costs associated with providing residential customers with a "conservation" block for their first 6,000 gallons of usage, then applying a uniform rate for all other usage. Today’s vote follows several open Finance Committee meetings, as well as a public meeting held in March.
Board members also requested that CFPUA staff increase public outreach about the new rate structure and the Authority's CFPUA Assist - Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, a partnership between the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and United Way of the Cape Fear Area. Some of our neighbors are faced with losing essential services like safe and reliable drinking water because of financial struggles caused by illness, unemployment and more. CFPUA has teamed up with the United Way of the Cape Fear Area to help address these needs. Information about the program can be found on the left side of CFPUA's homepage at www.cfpua.org.
CFPUA also recently announced the launch of an expanded community outreach program that will include a presentation and discussion of CFPUA's new uniform rate structure. Homeowners associations, civic organizations, community groups and groups of interested customers are invited to contact CFPUA to schedule a meeting by contacting Mike McGill, CFPUA’s Chief Communications Officer, at email@example.com 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.
Copies of the proposed rate models were available online for review since early March and an explanation of the new uniform rate structure can be found online at www.cfpua.org.