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thompson300.jpg Submitted by Hailey Winslow on Thu, 09/16/2010 - 3:22pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has been under fire from customers since it started operating a couple years ago. Now it's getting heat from New Hanover County Commission Chair Jason Thompson. Thompson says the Utility Authority is neglecting the public's concerns and not addressing major issues like billing problems and rate hikes. Wilmington and New Hanover County consolidated their water and sewer services to form the CFPUA in 2008. CEO Matt Jordan says with that merge, the authority inherited more than $300 million in debt from the city and the county. "I want all the viewers to know we're doing our part every year to look hard at what we do to make sure we continually improve and that we're efficient and that we hold down our cost and continue to reduce cost as we have over the first two years of our existence," Jordan said. Jordan says the Authority is doing all it can to lower rates and improve infrastructure, but Thompson is not convinced. "It's been, I guess, close to three years, and I'm still getting way too many complaints, way too many e-mails, people bringing me their bill saying 'How is it possible I used 68,000 gallons?' or 'This is an empty lot, there's not even water and sewer. Why are the sending me a bill?'" Thompson said. Thompson plans to address the CFPUA problems at the next County Commission meeting. The CFPUA plans to increase rates by a maximum of 15 percent next year. That increase will go toward repaying debt on improvement projects.

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