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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Kusek asks CFPUA board to reconsider its rate increase

Members of the CFPUA board meet Friday for a special called meeting regarding GenX. (Michael Praats/Port City Daily photo)
Members of the CFPUA board meet Friday for a special called meeting regarding GenX. (Michael Praats/Port City Daily photo)

WILMINGTON — Just days after the recent revelation of GenX being found in the Cape Fear River, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority authorized a 2.05 percent rate increase – a move that has raised questions from residents as well as public officials.

“It sends the wrong message to the community to raise rates at a time when this community has unanswered questions about the water. That is not the CFPUA’s fault in my opinion, but raising rates at this time, in my opinion was absolutely the wrong message to send this community,” County Chairman Woody White said during the press conference Thursday.

During a special called meeting Friday morning of the CFPUA Board, Commissioner Patricia Kusek asked to revisit the rate increase.

“I thought it (the increase) was a bad idea on Wednesday and I think it’s even a worse idea today,” Kusek said. “I was not supported in that and I would plead with this board to reconsider that … I understood that someone said that it was a small amount – well GenX is a small amount too. We owe it to our ratepayers not to smack them in the face with increasing the cost on water that we cannot definitively say, ‘yes it’s OK.’ ”

Kusek’s sentiment was echoed by other members of the board, but the discussion soon turned back to GenX.

Unfortunately, the rate increase question will have to wait until a future date, as a new and posted budget meeting would be required to discuss a budget item, according to CFPUA Consulting Attorney Linda Miles.

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