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By Ashley Withers

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority customers are likely in for another rate increase next budget year.

The authority board finance committee held a special meeting Thursday morning to discuss options for the increase, which CFPUA staff members said will help cover “variable expenditures” such as electricity.

The authority board moved to a uniform rate structure in May. Under this structure, the cost per thousand gallons is $3.42 for water and $4.21 for sewer for both residential and non-residential customers. CFPUA officials said this was the actual cost of the water and wastewater.

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Comment on this Story

  • Guest2020

    Given that no one alive today was here in the 1700s, they certainly cannot remember that far back. He said he learned of a group of men from the 1700s. There is a difference. I’m sorry you have a problem with people standing up for themselves. But if every person laid down and just took what was given to them, we would be speaking the queen’s English instead of our southern drawl.

  • guesty

    No, we don’t have either a 200 a month cable or cell phone bills. All our vehicles are paid for free and clear. The difference is if we decide to cut off cable, so be it. Or we could switch to satellite. But with cFpUa you are stuck with them. You are not allowed to switch back to a well and septic system.

  • Fixing Stupid

    All you people on here acting as if this were the worst thing you’ve ever seen. “Oh I remember back in the 1700’s…” What a load of crap! “Vote them out”…”Bunch if criminals”…”I complained to the utility Commission”… When you people start looking at your selves and your constant bashing of everyone else, you will see that most pay 200 a month for cable and internet, 200 a month for a cell phone with all the latest data, most likely have car payments that you can’t afford. Yet you still find a way to manage. You get up in arms about paying to take a shower, wash your food, flush your toilet, make your coffee. Those luxuries cost money too, and you’ve been getting a bargain for decades with no re-investment placed in the utility that serves you. I say CRY ME A RIVER!

  • Mike from CFPUA here. The price you pay for the water you drink is .4 cents a gallon. Four-tenths of a cent a gallon. Our proposals amount to an increase of $2.70 a month – less than one gallon of gas – for an average customer who uses 4,500 gallons of water a month.

  • portcity

    I’ll be seeking a pay raise next budget year also. I really think it will happen this year…

  • ThankGod

    Thank God for well water! They raise their rates more than the insurance companies. Pretty soon at the rate they are going you will be able to buy an oz. of gold cheaper than an oz. of their water.

  • CustomerX

    Actually, you’ll pay about 8 cents for 20 gallons. See, it is 4/10ths of a penny for each gallon. It is 7 dollars and change for 100 gallons. Another person screaming loud, but putting out bogus figures.

  • guesty

    Don’t forget about the base monthly fee you charge just for having a hookup. I have an empty house I’ve been remodeling to sell and pay about $56 dollars every bill. Nobody lives there, no laundry is being done, no dishes being washed, nobody taking showers or baths there and seldom toilet flushes.

  • Once again, we are a revenue-neutral utility; what comes into CFPUA goes back out in services and operations.

    The reason why you need to pay fixed charges for water and sewer is because those charges pay for the maintenance, replacement and construction of our infrastructure throughout the entire service area. Every account holder whose home or business is on the system pays their fair share for these charges.

    If people were able to dip in and out of paying fixed charges, we would not be able to plan for, and properly fund, our systems. Our bond ratings would suffer, making it more expensive to borrow money that pays for necessary infrastructure projects. That would only result in higher rates for our customers.

    Please read the proposals online at http://www.cfpua.org. The average increase for our customers is $2.70 a month, if you use the staff recommended proposal. That’s less than one gallon of gas a month, to ensure your systems continue to deliver safe and reliable water and wastewater services, including fire protection, disease protection, environmental protection and support for economic development.

  • Guest Reply Redux

    “Remember, when this area had a large number of sewer failures, your construction was shut down via a federal moratorium. If you don’t wish to return to those days, then you need to invest in your infrastructure”. (Unquote)
    Shouldn’t you be directing that at Saffo and his clan??? City Council wasted millions of taxpayers dollars on real estate, and The Hell with the rest. The State of NC slapped Saffo across the face, and now the citizens should deal with the bruises? Notta…don’t think so. Enough double talk and hogwash!

    Mike…I used to live in Wilmington prior to retirement…made $104,920 per year in Aviation. Even so, I thought your rates were rising too quickly. Conserving a budget on CFPUA’s end by cutting $1.2 million, then retrieving it from customers is unconstitutional at best. One doesn’t save money at home just to set a match to it. Are people supposed to conserve energy just to be punished for the same.
    Too many political blabbering has finally woke people up and they are willing to fight back. The banks of 2008/2009 were put back into operation by taxpayers…and it seems you guys want the same treatment in all fairness.
    Don’t slap a gift horse in the mouth…but slap City Council for ignoring the sewer system all those years which brought about ailing pipes/valves/what have you. Land was to be bought and sold by the authorities…sewage system “Be Damned”! That’s what the deal was Mike.
    That’s what happened…no more excuses about how the people will fall to defeat if they complain about rising cost, while their income remains the same, if not lower due to rising cost by suppliers.
    The citizens of Wilmington didn’t say NO to fixing the sewer system…they most likely thought people were doing their jobs and seeing to it for them. Guess they were wrong huh?

  • guesty

    Once again, we are a revenue-neutral utility; what comes into CFPUA goes back out in services and operations.

    Except for the high salaries you and many others receive. Kind of forgot that part? An inconvenient truth?

    Great, I’ll get to pay $60 every bill for using around 20 gallons of water. What a bargain for me.

  • CustomerX

    “Guess they were wrong huh?” Yes.

  • Guy Lombardo

    They haven’t forgot anything. The top 10 – 15 folks in the organization are professional engineers, CPA’s, have master’s degrees, or other professional licenses in their specialty. Did you send your kid to college to get a good job, or become a ditch digger?

    I sense a lot of class envy on this board. I make x, so anybody that make y is bad. An inconvenient truth that is public knowledge. Should they hire the same folks that did so a great job before? Guesty = another knucklehead.

  • guesty

    $14.00 for water use (run faucets to keep traps full, flush toilets)
    $24.99 for being connected for water
    $26.68 for being connected for sewer
    billed for two months

    Lets do math

    $65.67 dollars.

    All for a house that is empty.

    Any other questions you need explained to you?

  • taxpayer

    during drought conditions, we’re told to conserve water. We do, and the CFPUA jacks up the rates saying their revenue is down due to lower water usage.

    During rainy times, irrigation systems aren’t needed resulting in lower water usage. Up go the rates again due to lower revenue.

    There is no escaping this monstrosity created by the City and County. The problems we water users are paying for can be blamed directly on both the City and County’s lack of routine maintenance of the water/sewer systems under their control.

    That being said, it sure is comforting to know that when there’s a problem, we have a high 5-figure Public Information Officer putting out the press release.

  • I agree with you “Taxpayer”. It is plain to see that the city and county have accomplished what they wanted of getting the citizens “off their backs” by creating the CFPUA. Now when we complain they just raise their “innocent little hands” and say they have nothing to do with it!!
    Why doesn’t everyone look and see who was on the city council and the NHC commissioners when the CFPUA was created and not cast your vote to have them reelected to office? If they can so easily pass the buck as they have on this issue how many others have they conveniently swept under the rug?

  • CustomerX

    The City (and County) knew EXACTLY what they were doing. They kicked this to the curb, and knew everyone of these rate increases were going to happen because of their mismanagement.

    There is no way that the spineless cowardly political weasels who need your vote would increase taxes to pay for the broken infrastructure, so they structured CFPUA exactly this way for that purpose.

    Most folks are so dim that they don’t grasp the history.

    It was not a choice. Now, CFPUA is under what is called a consent decree by EPA. They are doing exactly what they must according to the negotiated settlement, and the City and County just paid a 300K dollar fine for violating the CWA.

    Before you throw rocks at the CFPUA, you need to get a little better understanding of the bigger picture here.

    The developer/realtor political cabal is responsible for this whole thing. Now they are standing back and smiling at their own genius. And yet, you’re still reelecting most of them.

    And by the way, the system is getting better, and this exact scenario is playing out all across the United States.

    Most folks are fat dumb and happy, plugged into their electronic devices and stuffing their cake-holes with Krispy Kremes. Infrastructure is kind of important…and expensive when you’ve neglected it.

  • jj

    City should have never given it up. The tax payers paid for years to buld the system and the city just gives it away. Now all you hear is more money, more money. The city never had to up the rates two to three times a year. Maybe the City needs to take it back.

  • guesty

    I sure didn’t see this coming.

  • Robin

    REALLY!! The cost of living continues to rise while paychecks do not. We can’t afford CFPU…something has got to change.

  • Guest Reply Redux

    “DON’T CARE!”
    Your Mayor doesn’t care…City Council doesn’t care…City Manager doesn’t care.
    They were put into office for the people and…BY THE PEOPLE!!!

  • Okie

    The rotten Cape Fear Public Utility needs to learn how to cut expenses and live cheaper, just like all of the customers have had to do. They ask for an increase to cover a bond or a project, but the rates never go back down, after these things have been paid off. They just figure out new ways of spending our money. Wow, that sounds just like the Wilmington City Council! After all, the City passed on all of their outstanding debt to the entire County by forming the CFPU. ENOUGH with these totally unnecessary repeated rate hikes.

  • Mike from CFPUA here. To address your first point, we recently had an across-the-board budget cut of $1.2 million dollars to deal with some of the reduction in revenue due to the significant drop in consumption.

    Regarding the bond issues, the reason the Authority was created was because major infrastructure needs had not been addressed, in large part because rates were kept artificially low. What is lost here is the fact that, while we are catching up, your rates are still in the middle or even below average (meaning they’re cheaper) than other utilities across the state. Meanwhile, we still have many areas with 60, 70, 80 year-old pipes to address.

    The return on the investment is also being lost as the rate proposals are being reported. The investment being made through your rates is paying dividends. In the five years since CFPUA was created, we have cut sewer overflows by more than one-third and the volume spilled into the environment by more than 70%. 70-plus%.

    Remember, when this area had a large number of sewer failures, your construction was shut down via a federal moratorium. If you don’t wish to return to those days, then you need to invest in your infrastructure.

  • guest12345123

    Something needs to be done to stop these criminals very soon before things get totally out of control. I tried to file a complaint against the CFPUA with the North Carolina Utilities Commission because they billed me for something I did not use or order. The NCUC informed me that the CFPUA is not regulated by the NCUC. The CFPUA needs to either be regulated by the NCUC or subject to United States Anti-trust laws.

  • Mike from CFPUA here. Please email me your issue so I can address it with our Customer Service department or you can call them directly at 332-6550.

  • just curious

    Hey Mr Mike Mcgill…….Mind posting your earnings from CFPUA?

  • Mike McGill here. The salaries listed are all in line with the salaries paid at other large water and wastewater utilities throughout the country, according to the American Water Works Association.

    By definition, CFPUA is a large water and wastewater utility, serving a population of nearly 200,000 people and 67,000-plus customer accounts. We also manage two major water and wastewater treatment plants as well as more than 1,000 miles of water mains and nearly 1,000 miles of sewer mains. In addition, we oversee 141 pump stations, which are particularly labor-intensive pieces of infrastructure.

    I will gladly come out to any civic group, organization, homeowners’ association, you name it, to discuss what your rates and fees pay for. You can email me at communications@cfpua.org. I will come out any time of the day, any day of the week to speak to audiences of two or 200.

  • guesty

    Guesty here. A hit dog howls the loudest. Don’t worry, you will still get paid.

  • Mike McGill from CFPUA here. While the StarNews is technically right with its front page numbers today, many reports are stating the percentages on their front page as the overall percentages for the increase proposals. These reports are incorrect.

    Because we are not proposing changes to our fixed charges for water and sewer, the proposed overall increase percentages for an average bill range from 1.9% to 7%.

    While the amounts were not part of the front page graphic, the overall increases proposed range from 10 cents to 41 cents per thousand gallons for water and 16 to 55 cents per thousand gallons for wastewater.

    What this means is, even with the highest rate proposal, one gallon of water would still cost four-tenths of one cent. Treating a gallon of wastewater would cost one-half of one cent.

    Questions or comments can be sent to me at communications@cfpua.org

  • My salary is public record but I will gladly give it here. It is $90,900 a year, which is slightly above average for the public water and wastewater utility industry when it comes to my position and duties, according to the American Water Works Association.

    My last position in public water and wastewater, which included customer service oversight duties, paid $135,000. My last position in public water and wastewater which did not have customer service oversight duties (like my current one) paid $92,500 plus overtime.

  • guesty

    Mike McGill Communication mouthpiece makes $90,900 a year.
    James Flechtner, COO & interim CEO makes $137,500
    Cheryl Spivey, CFO makes $134,970
    Frank Styers, Engineering makes $114,044
    Beth Eckert, Evironmental & Safety manager makes $101,243
    Thomas Morgan, HR Director makes $106,210
    Nancy Johnson, Customer Service Director makes $100,066
    Cord Ellison, IT Manager makes $98,122
    Karen Durso, Assistant to CEO makes $64,097

    So add these 9 together and come up with $947k in just salaries (not including bonus and benefits)

    Yep, time for a rate increase, baby needs some new shoes.

  • taxpayer

    “By definition, CFPUA is a large water and wastewater utility, serving a population of nearly 200,000 people and 67,000-plus customer accounts. We also manage two major water and wastewater treatment plants as well as more than 1,000 miles of water mains and nearly 1,000 miles of sewer mains. In addition, we oversee 141 pump stations, which are particularly labor-intensive pieces of infrastructure.”


    What your organization does is try to manage the monster created by the the City and County as a means of getting the monkey off their backs as a result of fiscal and operational mismanagement over a long period of years. I understand the need for upgrades and repairs. What I don’t understand is the need for the top-dollar salaries just because your lobbying/trade organization says they are “in line.”

    Unfortunately, we, who purchase your product, have no legal means of holding those accountable who created this mess. I have no doubt the CFPUA can find the money to fund an efficiency study, but any given day, you’ll find at least one pickup sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion on 17th Street while the occupants eat their breakfast.

  • guest69696969

    My salary is public record but I will gladly give it here. It is $90,900 a year, which is slightly above average….

    Mr. Mike McGill; The CITIZENS are Speaking here….
    While MOST of people in Wilmington, what WE make, is at or below 50,000 per year…
    Re-read *HIS*
    ” above comments “, and comments made on “other” Article(s) involving CFPUA…
    I’ve heard the Same, REALLY! in almost every Article posted ,Mr. McGill regurgitates, word for word, EXCATLY the same information, time & time again…
    (lets round up),,, 91,000 Just to be a paid TROLL,, err mouthpiece…

    Mr. McGill, GOD Forbid, If you were making barely a “Living wage”, Like MOST of us PLEB’S, (or Serf’s),, here in Wilmington, like MOST here do, say around 20+K a year… OR if your a College student trying to make ends meet, while paying tuition.
    The extreme High cost of RENT for the PRIVLEGE of residing in Wilmington.. Or, In this AWFUL ECOMONY, you happen to be un-employed ATM? with NO Prospects? TOUGH,,,,,
    Or a “Disabled Senior”… receiving only 15K a year? (though you had a nice *nest egg* until the Market Crash in 07 wiped you out…)..
    Underwater on Your Home Mortgage? Facing forecloser? Due to Corruption on Wall Street & the TBTF bank(s),
    Our Cars are TAXED
    Our PETS are TAXED
    Beaches Wanting $$ just for parking
    NC aquarium’s raising rates
    Gasoline going higher
    Electric Rates going UP
    Price for even feeding yourself or your Family, is getting more
    & more expensive.
    Property taxes are ever higher..
    (Need I say MORE!)
    That .04 cent counts every month for US…
    What would you say then? To the People Honestly? If you were in OUR SHOES?
    Though, I have one DERN GOOD Question to ask you….
    Years ago, the People of Wilmington were SOLD,A bill of GOODS on IMPROVEMENTS, on OUR water/Sewer infrastructure, a “NEW” innovation, Pipes/Liners that would slide “inside”, OLD piping, in effect Giving Us, We were told & Sold,, years & years of “Maintance free” infrastructure, A Quick & EZ FIX, Solution, (Instead of replacing all this piping),, Sold to the Citizens then…
    Answer US this.. What-ever happened to those “cheap” long lasting improvements? (I’m sure some Old-timers remember those Issues & the millions spent doing THAT project…)
    Lastly,,,, Why leave a 135,000 year Job, taking a pay cut of almost 45K? Weather here, just isn’t THAT Nice…

  • The Patriot

    …is for people of good conscience to remain silent” It seems that I learned about a group of men in the mid 1700’s who were also fed up with an oppressive government.

  • taxpayer

    Taxpayer here. Unfortunately, the CFPUA is a quasi-governmental agency that is accountable no one…not the voters or taxpayers. You have free reign to implement your rates however you deem necessary.

  • CustomerX

    …bashing on CFPUA about to take place, folks should carefully read the article again and keep this in perspective. CFPUA is providing you a service…delivering 1000 gallons of water for $3.42. How much would 1000 gallons of bottled water cost you?

    They are taking away 1000 gallons of your produced filth for $4.21. How much would a honey wagon cost you to do that. It is still very much a bargain, and I think the math sometimes escapes people.

  • Zane

    Then why isn’t my bill $7.63. Why is it well over $100 a month!

  • To protect our customer data, I cannot look at your bill. However, I will gladly speak to do you about it. 332-6704. Much of your bill, if it is $100, is from our fixed charges. These are the portions of the bill that deal directly with your infrastructure, debt service, bonds, maintenance and replacement of plants, systems and mains.

    If you break that down, it’s $50 a month for producing the water for you through a variety of levels of treatment, delivering it through part of a 1,000-mile system of water mains, your use, taking your wastewater from you through another 1,000-mile system of sewer mains, and treating it in a variety of ways to return it safely back into the environment better than we received it. Also provided from our systems? Fire protection, disease protection and support of economic development.

  • CustomerX

    This is the kind of knucklehead-ism the CPFUA folks have to respond to…folks that don’t know math, or understand how to read a bill.

    So Zane… 7.63 per 1000 gallons. Now, you might use 10 – 12 thousand gallons. 7.63 times 10 or 12, take your pick. Now…you don’t get a bill every month. You get one bill every TWO months.

    Again…how much would 1000 gallons of BOTTLED WATER COST? I love seeing folks say it is so expensive they are going to start buying bottled water. These folks breed, too.

    Then, add the City of Wilmington’s trash cart…and the City of Wilmington’s storm water service charges. Those were foisted on CFPUA to bill as part of the original agreement. You are not getting three separate bills…you are getting one bill for three things.

  • guesty

    People at Monkey Junction don’t pay trash with their cFpUa bill, they have to contract separate service. And how exactly does Wilmington use the storm water fee? New Center, S College, Racine Dr and other roads all flood with a decent rain.


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