In a fairly quick board meeting this morning, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority board met to resolve some customer concerns. One of the topics was the continuing controversy surrounding the billing and rate system. The tier system has been up for debate among Authority customers for quite some time. The board voted ‘no’ to adopting a new tier billing system. Right now, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority bills households based on gallons used. People fall into tiers based on the number of the amount of water they use. The first tier rate is based on the first 9,000 gallons used, the second 9,000 gallons used and so forth. The higher the tier, the more expensive the price per 9,000 gallons. The proposed new tier system would bump the gallons used up a bit, to 12,000 gallons per tier. According to the authority, nearly 80 percent of folks in Wilmington and New Hanover County fall within the first tier, but families who use more water because of multiple people living in their home feel discriminated against. "This board, the Authority, understands that larger families are going to pay a higher price, for the water they use, and that's clearly discrimination,” said Chad O’Shields. The board also voted in favor of the landlord tenant policy. Because the Authority bills have been so late since joining with the city, many landlords have been left to pay their tenants water bills. Now, the tenants will be responsible. Another item on the agenda was metering irrigation systems. Come July 1st, any resident that installs a new irrigation system and wants to hook up to municipal water will have a separate meter for their residential usage and irrigation system.
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