MTYT: Using taxpayer dollars to help CFPUA customers - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

MTYT: Using taxpayer dollars to help CFPUA customers

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Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has set up a great program for neighbors to help neighbors.  It's called CFPUA Assist.   And it gives you an opportunity to help keep someone's water on by donating cash. 

Over the holidays, we featured a very generous woman named Betty Palmer.  She gave $10,000 to the program.  Her donation helped encourage others to step up - and they did!

 But, here's the problem.  In their exuberance to help each other out, our elected leaders wanted to get involved too.  Some even gave their own money to the cause.  And then it got out of control and they gave away your money - taxpayer dollars.   

That's right; Wilmington City Council set aside $10,000 to donate to the program.

I'm not opposed to this program and I would encourage donating to it, but not with taxpayer money.  I think charitable donations are a more personal decision and should be left to the people who are actually earning that money.  This is just another example of a governmental body going outside its area of responsibility. 

I hope the next time City Council members find themselves in a giving mood, they put their hands in their own pockets and stay out of ours.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Emailed comments from viewers:

Water is as critical to our survival as the air we breathe.  I find it appalling that an entity can force extremist payment to such a degree that the "feel good flag" is waved about taking donations for a resource that we as humans have a direct right to for our very survival.  People are being charged to the degree that they cannot afford simple drinking water in their kitchen sink, or water for the most basic of hygiene requirements.  I find it even more appalling that the charge is for a resource that exists naturally, cleanly, and freely within the aquifers beneath our feet.


Tell these same officials, who somehow came up with $10,000 of our money, not to raise our tax rate for our property taxes! They 'patted themselves on the back' 3 months ago in the newsletter that Wilmington has the "2nd lowest tax rate in NC." What they failed to mention is that our home values were way over priced! Now that the home values have been brought in line with reality, they want to raise our rates!!

We need a tax cut on our property tax! There are plenty of things to be cut out of the budget, including $10,000 giveaways, that they treat like it's their money! Start with the Wilmington WAVE, then sell the par 3 golf course at Inland Greens so taxpayers don't have to continue to pay for the upkeep on the club house and the course itself. Then cut out their travel budgets because so far, trips like Laura Padgett's to Panama have done nothing for the unemployment rate here. Then get rid of the "Red Light" program.... then move the HUD out of that big, fancy, expensive building and into something that resembles the fact you are doing work for the poor, not over paid executives... I could go on and on.

The fact is they were quick to raise our property taxes during a brief real estate boom, and now it's time to give us our money back. I would rather have more of my money for my family, than pay for more government services. They need to get back to basics, and cut more spending...believe me, if my family has found a way to live with less, so can they!!  After all, IT'S MY MONEY


It is that they don't believe it is our money they spend because if they run out they can just ask for more. Who said money doesn't grow on trees.

Keep up the good work.


Betty Palmer is my mother and I could not be more proud of her for what she has done to help those without water.  I'm also very appreciative of the council members and others who made the decision to use their personal income to help those in need.  However I feel the county government crossed the line when they made the decision to use tax payer dollars to support this cause.  Thank you for making the public aware that this is going on in our government and for keeping the public aware that families are still living in 3rd world conditions without water in our own backyard.  I hope your commentary will encourage others to give generously to this cause.


In hearing your commits on January 12th, MTYT: Using taxpayer dollars to help CFPUA customers, I agree with you.

But like me, the problem to city council is that they do not listen to the people of Wilmington. The image of the city council to the city and to themselves is all they need to make any choices they feel like Roman Emperors of the old days of Rome.

There is much to freedom in what city council can do with "our" money with out our say on it's use out side in taking care of the city towards the people who live here.

We should have a say on, in this case, whether we want the money to help CFPUA.

If you are going to donate, it should come out of your pocket, this include every member of city council.

Unless we change and tighten of the rules of city council, they will do what "they" feel is good "with their" rules and decision, not ours.

Your commits, like mine, are wasted and will never be heard to their hears.

It's like the White House gives money to a company in California, files bankruptcy, YET gives big bonus to the hit employees. It is our money but we have no say in wasting our taxes on loosing companies.

We needed tighter controls on what our taxes are going to or used and not members of city council.

But it will never happen. One reason why politicians are hated by the American people.

That is my turn.


As citizens reached out to help individuals and families without water I learned that on average only 63% of each dollar donated would actually go to pay water bills. I have been working with both the CFPUA and the City of Wilmington to waive penalties and fees to maximize the success of donated dollars.

The CFPUA has recently waived penalties and administrative fees for donated assistance and the City of Wilmington set aside $10,000 to offset their requirement that trash and storm water fees be paid before going to the water bill. This assistance from the City is not going to pay water bills but is being used to offset trash and storm water fees to allow 100% of donated money to help our waterless citizens.

The longer term solution to defer City fees for donated assistance could require modification of the Inter-Local Agreement that created the utility authority. We are forming a committee of elected officials on the CFPUA board to explore long term solutions, but the City of Wilmington's recent effort is helpful in making sure that every penny of donated money is used as intended by the generous citizens and businesses trying to help their neighbors in New Hanover County.

Although most of our nation's water and sewer infrastructure was historically facilitated by tax dollars, the creation of our CFPUA and similar separate utility enterprises around the Country has removed that assistance. The issue of having no tax dollars for public health infrastructure will become a growing crisis as the cost for replacement and repair of pipes, pumps and treatment facilities exceeds the ability of all but our wealthiest rate payers. Water and sewer infrastructure has been the single most significant factor in the increase in modern civilization's average life expectancy.  This serious public health infrastructure issue and how to afford solutions will be a central focus of our new committee.




Hello, my name is April and there are many times that I don't agree with what you say. However I agree with you this time, I am definitely not in agreement with them taking our, the tax payer's money to aid in paying people's water bills. As you stated, it is charity and it is personal. Either you choose to help or you choose not help. City Council's and the government always step out of the boundaries at the tax payer's expense, its old and I'm tired of it.. Thanks for bringing this issue to us, the tax payer.


I think what you are saying is that while government has a duty to spend tax monies to assure the welfare of its citizens by providing services like police protection, clean streets, schools, buses, teachers,fireworks celebrations, etc., etc., its elected officials do not have the right to spend money to care for the desperately needy in our community.  You apparently feel that the old, sick, crippled and desperate are exempt from public support and should depend solely on charity from the private sector. But what you fail to consider and/or address is what might happen if that private sector help does not arrive or falls short. If you did consider this, but went ahead with your editorial comment anyway,  I can only conclude that the fate of the disenfranchised is not as important as your tax bills.  

You indicated previously in "your turn" that demonstrative public displays of Christian morals in sporting events and the like were to be admired and emulated. Now you are saying public displays of caring for the poor by public officials are to be shuned & avoided. This would appear to be an appeal to an all show but no go form of Monetarily Accentuated Christianity which I fear is in direct conflict with any fair reading of Christ's words as written in the gospels. You know rich man, camel , eye of a needle, blessed are the poor, give away your stuff and follow me....

 It would appear that for you, the manner in which help arrives is much more important than guaranteeing that help arrives at all. Those dependant on help probably don't share your perspective. I am sure that they probably can look forward to your prayers for the repose of their souls. 

A person of conscience in the public eye might want to reconsider their earlier point of view.  They could sleep better at night and after leaving their money behind, get past those pearly gates.         

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