Utility authority approves annual budget without water or sewer rate increases

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Customers of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) will not see water or sewer rate increases next year, according to CFPUA’s recently adopted budget.

CFPUA board members approved the authority’s $76.1 million budget this week, according to spokesman Mike McGill. The budget keeps the residential water rate at $3.67 per 1,000 gallons and the sewer rate at $4.56 per 1,000 gallons. Fixed charges will also remain the same at $25.81 per bi-monthly bill for water and $29.10 per bi-monthly bill for sewer. The average residential bill will remain at $69.49 a month.

CFPUA’s rates recently received high marks from the UNC School of Government Environmental Finance Center in its annual study of North Carolina water and wastewater rates, which compared rates of 510 utilities surveyed. UNC placed CFPUA in its green, or “optimal,” zones in just about every rate-based and financial category, McGill said.

“The UNC study again shows that CFPUA is properly balancing our rates with the need to appropriately operate and maintain the water and sewer systems,” said CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner. “We are where we should be, and need to be, in setting fair rates and responsible budgets.”

Among the underlying reasons for CFPUA’s ratings are its operating budget, which has not significantly increased in its eight years of operation, and its consumption and other budget targets, which are being met thanks to improvements in economic growth, according to McGill.

“CFPUA is charged with the difficult proposition of improving water and sewer services while maintaining the lowest possible cost,” said Pat Kusek, board chairman. “What this year’s budget – and the UNC study – show is just how well the people of the Authority are performing their duties with the customer in mind.”

The study’s results can be found here.