ONLINE UPDATE: Average water bill could see $18 hike

by Kelly Corbett
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The average Wrightsville Beach bi-monthly water bill could see a hike totaling $18.10.

During the sixth budget workshop, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen continued discussing possible fee increases to help with water and sewer department shortfalls.

The board continued a discussion about water rates from the Monday, May 12 workshop to the Tuesday, May 13 board meeting.

The rate increase could generate an additional $326,000 to cover a $324,000 shortfall.

“We can’t continue to operate in the red,” Mayor Pro Tem Darryl Mills said.

About $200,000 could be generated from fees with the remainder coming from usage.

Roughly 2,500 accounts are in the top tier, which could see an increase from $1.01 to $1.52 per unit.

“Nobody wants to do this, our system over the years just needs a little help,” town manager Tim Owens said.

Owens said there is the potential for $15 million to $20 million in water and sewer projects in the five years.

Sue Bulluck, Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce chairwoman and governmental liaison for the parent company of the Holiday Inn Resort, stood in the audience and asked Steve Dellies, assistant public works director, if he conducted case studies showing impacts on businesses, like hotels, compared to residences. Dellies said that would have been a difficult thing to do.

“Let’s roll this out to see what the public thinks of it,” Mayor Bill Blair said. “… Put it on the agenda for June.”

Blair added that he wants to see other than maintenance what projects the money would go toward. 

The board had a discussion Monday with Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Executive Director Jim Flechtner and Board Chairman Jim Quinn about future town water needs and possibilities, when Owens recommended paying a contractor to complete a long-term needs study, estimated at $50,000, to look deeper into options and combinations of options board members have seen during recent meetings.

The full story will be printed Thursday, May 15.


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