FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mike McGill
After Hours: (910) 622-8472
Wilmington, NC (April 9, 2014): The Board of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) voted today to adopt new rates for Fiscal Year 2015 that address an eight percent decline in consumption in FY’ 14 and a projected reduction in usage in FY ‘15. Along with other water utilities in the region, CFPUA experienced a significant reduction in water use due to heavy summer rains, reducing the Authority’s revenues and requiring the increase to maintain funding for proper water and sewer maintenance. The increase comes after CFPUA’s board voted in February to cut the Authority’s budget $1.2 million to lessen the financial impact of the decline on customers without reducing services.
CFPUA’s approach to setting its water and sewer rates recently received substantial support from the findings of the UNC School of Government’s Environmental Finance Center. Last month, in its annual statewide study of 372 water utilities, the Center gave CFPUA excellent ratings for the Authority’s rate-related work. Using the study’s new, online dashboard, the Center places CFPUA in the middle of its GREEN (optimal) zones for just about every rate-related category, including overall affordability, dollar-for-dollar totals and project costs recovery. CFPUA's financial condition also received high marks from the Center; they placed CFPUA squarely in the GREEN (optimal) zone for six of its eight categories including: revenues v. expenditures, debt service coverage ratio, operating budget ratio, cash on hand, quick ratio, and asset depreciation. Thanks to increased operational efficiency, CFPUA’s operating budgets have actually decreased in their total amounts since the Authority’s launch in 2008. In FY ’09, the operating budget was for $36.3 million; in FY ’15, the proposed budget is $34.9 million.
The Environmental Finance Center’s dashboard took into account the rate approved today, which will move the residential uniform rate from $3.42 per 1,000 gallons for water usage to $3.67 per 1,000 gallons, and from $4.21 per 1,000 gallons for sewer usage to $4.56 per 1,000 gallons. The adopted rates match the proposal recommended by CFPUA’s Finance Committee last month and budgets for a four percent decline in consumption in FY ’15. Under the new rates, an average residential bill will increase $2.70 a month from $66.79 per month to $69.49 (4.4%). CFPUA bills its customers every other month and the new rates will take effect beginning with bills dated on or after May 1, 2014.
“When we ask our board to consider a rate increase, we must be able to demonstrate that CFPUA is properly balancing the financial impact on our customers with the need to appropriately maintain the water and sewer systems,” said Jim Flechtner, CFPUA Executive Director. “The School of Government study shows that CFPUA is right where we should be, and need to be, in setting fair rates and fiscally responsible budgets.”
Today’s vote follows multiple open committee meetings and a public meeting held in March. An explanation of the new rates can be found online at www.cfpua.org. As always, CFPUA will present information on our rates and duties to any interested homeowners association, civic organization or community group. To set up a meeting, please contact Mike McGill, CFPUA’s Chief Communications Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 332-6704. The sessions can be scheduled before, during or after business hours.
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Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) was formed by the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County to combine their water and sewer operations. It began operations on July 1, 2008. Today, the Authority serves more than 67,000 water customer accounts and more than 65,000 wastewater customer accounts. It oversees more than 1,000 miles of water distribution mains and nearly 1,000 miles of sewer mains. For more information, visit www.cfpua.org or contact CFPUA’s Communications staff at email@example.com.