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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority will consider raising rates next year for water and wastewater consumption by 4.4 percent. CFPUA spokesman Mike McGill says if the full CFPUA Board approves the proposal passed today by the authority’s finance committee, the new rate would increase the average customer’s bill about $2.70 per month.

McGill says the increase would address increasing expenses, including fuel, energy and chemicals, as well as declining water consumption.

The proposal affects the customer water and wastewater usage rates. McGill says it would increase each rate by a fraction of a penny per gallon. The proposal does not affect the fixed charges that make up about 40 percent of a customer’s bill and cover things like infrastructure maintenance and debt service.

The CFPUA will hold a public hearing about the rate increase proposal March 12 at 9 a.m. at the New Hanover County Government Center in the Lucie Harrell Conference Room.

Comment on this Story

  • trash

    Wonder who is padding Mike’s pocket? He sure is defending CFPUA. I understand you work for them, but somebody is using you to keep the heat off them and hide something. Remember, when all comes out, they are going to put your head on the chopping block.

  • Brenda Jarrell

    This outrageous!!!!!!! People can hardly afford the water bill now. And you want to raise rates AGAIN!!!!! Perhaps CFPU could actually manage their business properly, which would include all the ACCIDENTAL spills. If you, CFPU, could not afford to take over the community water for the county, then maybe you should not have. This is as I mentioned OUTRAGEOUS!!! Maybe the proper officials should audit CFPU and find out what the real problem is.

  • wilmwatcher

    You can laugh all you want but Brian Berger was on the CFPUA and listened when citizens spoke and fought rate hikes (including future). He was routinely outvoted by 10-1 or maybe 3-8 if any election was looking. For all Woody White’s bluster and characterizing the most sweet Brian Berger as a murderer cause he speaks funny.
    Berger was always there regularly on time for the people. (He just didn’t go early to eat at citizen expense like White and cohorts..Berger paid for his own meals). He lived the way humble, God fearing people do…White needs to admit Berger was extrmely intelligent, and Woody defamed and slandered and libeled the nicest one in any elected office like a dishonest, corrupt lawyer in a County full of shady lawyers, police, judges and the worst…media. It’s not too late to come clean wway, etc…or maybe it is too late.

    What happened to Berger who cared enough not to make money off his office IS a shameful exercise in dishonest politics and its worse than ever in my lifetime. Berger where are you?

  • taxpayer

    Unfortunately, the CFPUA is a quasi-governmental entity that is accountable to…no one! Not the taxpayers or the consumers.

  • Mike McGill from CFPUA here. To the writer, your rates were kept artificially low for decades because it was easy to do so; your water and wastewater systems were out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, these systems are coming to the end of their useful life – they’re 60, 70, 80, even 90 years of age – and rates can’t be kept artificially low any longer.

    It costs more than $1.25 million to replace ONE mile of water or sewer main; CFPUA is responsible for more than 2,000 miles of them. At the same time, we face the same cost-related issues the region faces; we have to pay more for fuel, energy, chemicals, etc, to properly provide services that meet or exceed federal and state drinking water standards.

    We received a clean audit for the past fiscal year; the details of which I will post in my next entry. We have had our efficiency studied in the past; the high marks we received for our work was reported to the public. In addition, this year we are adding a new GPS system into our operations and beginning the four-year process to replace all 67,000-plus of our water meters with newer technologies that will accurately capture all of the water being used in our system.

    Our board – a cross-section of county and city leaders and elected officials – makes sure CFPUA’s staff strives to find the right balance between affordability for our customers and responsibility to properly maintain safe and reliable systems. We cannot allow our systems to move to the brink of failure because we want to avoid raising rates. If we were to do so, then our community’s disease protection, fire protection, environmental protection and economic development would all be placed in jeopardy.

  • Radar

    This quasi-government agency does not have to answer to anyone.The county and city dropped this hot potato due to their neglect of providing basic maintenance and the politicians having to raise your taxes. There is NO recourse for citizens therefore there is no reason to waste your time attending a public hearing. You can not win whether water consumption goes up or down. Citizens are already stressed due to an oppressive , socialist government and utility companies going unchecked. These entities will continue to dig deeper into your pockets.

  • Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) received a clean audit for Fiscal Year 2013 from the Wilmington-based accounting firm Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams and Company. The audit, which was presented publicly, examined data supporting the amounts and disclosures in the Authority’s financial assessments and evaluated the accounting principles used by CFPUA and significant estimates made by management. The audit also evaluated the Authority’s overall financial statement presentation.

    CFPUA also received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for a fourth straight year for its Fiscal Year 2012 report. The award is given to government units and public employee retirement systems whose comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) achieve the highest standards in government accounting and financial reporting.

    The audit’s significant findings were as follows. The Authority:

    • Provided reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material error and in compliance with government regulations;
    • Fully cooperated with all planned procedures and gave complete access to both management and required information;
    • Communicated the initial adoption of or a change in an accounting principle which had or is expected to have a significant effect on the financial statements; and
    • Used methodologies used and basis of evidence for matters requiring judgments and estimates.

    The audit also found:
    • No significant deficiencies in internal control;
    • No significant audit adjustments or unrecorded differences in CFPUA’s financial data;
    • No disagreements with management on financial or reporting matters;
    • No communications with other accountants; and
    • No material irregularities and/or illegal acts.

  • trash

    It is called fixing the books. We are not stupid. All you do is move stuff from place to another to make things balance or hide any overages. Come on Mike, you can do better than that.

  • chacoptaco

    How convenient that most of their public meetings are held on a weekday during the day when most people are at work? This one is on a Wednesday at 9 AM. Why can’t they inconvenience themselves and hold the meeting at say, 6 PM to allow more public input? (not that it would do any good). Also, since this has been a debacle from the get go, hopefully a large company such as American Water or Aqua Source would be willing to entertain a takeover. We live in a part of the County where thankfully, we have Aqua Source and the rates are lower (albeit not a whole lot) however, they don’t go up every time you turn around.

  • Last year, CFPUA held our public meeting on our rate proposal at 6 p.m. Despite reporting by the news media and posting the information online, there was no change in the amount of guest speakers versus past years.

    This, however, did not prevent anyone who wished to tell us their opinions about our proposals from submitting their opinions online more than a month prior to our board’s vote.

    This year, our rate proposals have received extensive coverage in the media and online. We have publicized the public comment period, which again extends more than one month prior to our board’s vote on the proposal.

    Any person unable to attend the hearing and wishing to comment in writing regarding said rates should do prior to March 28, 2014, by mailing comments to the Authority Clerk, 235 Government Center Drive, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403, or via email to donna.pope@cfpua.org.

  • guest6969696969

    How’s about you take a “PAY CUT” From 90,000, to 50,000, ASAP, DONATING your “price Cut”, along with the other 5 & 6 figure TOP “Managers”, to the TAX PAYERS whom cannot afford your increases?

  • Guest, just another

    “As well as declining water consumption”??? What the deuce? So, you raise rates to push water conservation, and when as a community we do, you PUNISH the community by raising rates? Screw you CFPUA! Way to go Wilmington City Council/County Commissioners! Way to stick it to New Hanover!

  • trash

    You cannot win with these idiots. Use more water, pay more. Use less water and they want to raise your rates because you did not use enough water. Let’s cut some of those Monarch’s salaries to fund the replacement of the old lines.
    Somebody needs to step in and regulate CFPUA and aduit their books.

  • Our books are audited every year and we are regulated for water and wastewater quality by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Kenneth

    You Sir are full of bull. The CFPUA is the largest mistake our City and County governments ever made. You are a bunch of money grabbing thieves and should be run out of town for corruption

  • Your rates were kept artificially low for decades because it was easy to do so; your water and wastewater systems were out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, these systems are coming to the end of their useful life – they’re 60, 70, 80, even 90 years of age – and rates can’t be kept artificially low any longer.

    If you do not properly pay for your systems, then you face turn on the tap or trying to flush the toilet and finding no water and no way to treat your waste. You lose reliable fire protection and your taxes rise because no new development can take place to even out your tax burden and people leave because of the reduced quality of life. These are the extremes but it is what you face if you don’t pay for your systems to be maintained.

    Hold a cup of regular – not even a mochafrappawhatever – cup of Starbucks coffee. Then hold out your other hand and imagine it a cup holding 1,000 gallons of water. What you are “holding” in each hand costs the same amount of money under our proposal.

  • guesty

    You can skip the coffee if you want, but you can’t disconnect from their system and go back to a well and septic system.

  • Skip

    Kenneth – I get the distinct impression that anyone who uses words you don’t understand would meet with your same pithy response.

  • taxpayer

    Hey Mike McGill…taxpayer here. Your example of comparing coffee to a gallon of water is more than slightly flawed. You forgot to add in the sewer fee.

    It has to be hard trying to defend your employer’s position with respect to rate increases. However, you are a highly-compensated mouthpiece for the CFPUA. I sleep better at night knowing if there’s a problem, we have a $90k person at the helm writing the press releases.

  • taxpayer

    Hey Mike McGill…taxpayer here…again.

    In addition to forgetting the sewer fee, one other flaw in your attempt is the fact that at Starbucks, you can order just one cup of coffee. The CFPUA requires a minimum monthly fee regardless of whether you use water or not.

    I won’t bother discussing your other comment about “even out the tax burden”. I was laughing too hard to type.

    Thanks for playing.

  • The sewer cost is the equivalent of holding a mocha frap in one hand and 1,000 gallons of treated wastewater in the other.

    So one coffee = 1,000 gallons of your waste taken from you via miles of sewer mains, treated and returned safely to the environment. It’s really that simple.

  • An answer to this writer’s question “Berger where are you?” My thought is you are sitting at your PC writing that entry! Yes Mr. Berger did speak out for the citizens but unfortunately he did not keep his own house clean as a public official should. I am sure he is going to loose his next go round when he runs again for office and sad to say I will also not be voting for him. Even in the USA, that now seems to have gone downhill starting in the 1960s and getting worse by the minute, I still think a public official should hold themselves in the highest esteem for his/her constituents.

  • Abc123

    McGill appears to be the Jay Carney of the CFPUA. It is quite apparent the utility is one of the most despised entities in Wilmington. Given the price tag of the crumbling infrastructure due to the misguided priorities of politicians from the past , let ‘s evaluate the salaries of the utility. The public has no recourse , so why have a ” dog and pony show” ( public forum ). That would be like recommending changes to the narcissistic dictator in the White House on Obamacare. It would fall on deaf ears. Our job is to somehow find a way to reign in this quasi- government agency . What a city….high crime , high water and sewer rates, high parking beach rates, liberal politicians on council , high cost of living relative to low salaries , no industries that represent a broad spectrum and sorry infrastructure across the board. If this community did not have close proximity to the beaches and were an inland city , it would be one of the armpits of N.C . I am seriously considering moving from this overrated community. The shakedown never ends .

  • SurfCityTom

    there were a total of 15 comments posted at the time I penned this entry.

    5 of those 15 were from Spokesman Mike McGill.

    At least he appears to be trying to earn his keep in a losing battle.

  • trash

    Well let’s start with your position when start asking if certain people are needed? I can just about bet if you all get your percentage hike, you all will get a pay raise at some point instead of using this money for the lines that you are saying need to be replaced. Beleiv me, I WiLL be at the meeting and by all means will be asking for the books to be audited. Fair warning. Get them straight and do what you need to hide wasted expenses.
    Another thing. Maybe we need to start taking photos of the guys sitting at the stores or leaving the office and driving to the store. This should be taken care of before and after work hours. Yes, I know they get lunch, that is understandable, but breakfast should not be at the customers expense. This is a wasted expense, misuse of equipment and time. Maybe if the photos start pouring in, we can find places to cut also.


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