CFPUA looks ahead during work session

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A daylong work session by the members of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Board could ease rate increases in the future.

The board discussed CFPUA's capital improvement projects for next year, which were originally budgeted for $31.2 million. The authority's staff reduced that number to $25 million before Monday's work session.

From there, board members ranked a total of 58 projects set to begin after July 1, 2012, according to CFPUA spokesperson Carey Ricks. Two projects were chosen to be delayed, including the $3 million dollar planning and design portion of a raw water booster pump station.

Board members will revisit the recommended $22 million CIP budget at their next meeting. The nearly $10  million reduction would affect any potential rate increases in the future, according to Ricks. She said rates paid by customers cover the cost of capital improvement projects.

The $22 million budget proposal will not affect the 5% rate increase that will begin July 1.

The CFPUA board looked even further into the future during their work session Monday. Board members discussed how the authority will handle growth in it coverage area, and who will pay for it.

A general consensus was that CFPUA customers should not have to pay for the cost of growth, according to spokesperson Ricks. She said other possibilities include developers who would need to hookup to CFPUA connections, or local governments like the City of Wilmington of New Hanover County.

Ricks said future discussions about CFPUA growth will include representatives from both city and county governments.

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