Despite Wrightsville Beach ‘expectations’ for lower rate, CFPUA recommends denying request

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) – The city of Wrightsville Beach must act quickly if it is to have enough water to handle the inevitable influx of visitors heading to the small oceanfront community.

The deal comes to an end in April and city leaders must now decide if they want to secure their water supply, but elected officials balk at the standard rate and ask the CFPUA board to consider approving the deal. purchase water for the greatly reduced rate, only $0.65 per 1,000 gallons.

However, CFPUA staff recommends against approving additional reductions for the city.

The need for outside water stems from chloride contamination of the city’s wells, which is no fault of the CFPUA, the water supplier told WECT.

“In recognition of this reality and to address the issues of continued chloride contamination in the city’s wells, the city has officially requested to purchase 150 million gallons per year, using no more than 800 gallons per minute. , for a contract period of only two years.” CFPUA Executive Director Kenneth Waldroup said in a memo, “The city has also requested an extension to the short-term mutual aid rate of $0.65/1,000 gallons for the first 45 million gallons. , the remainder (105 million gallons) at the prevailing bulk water resale rate, which is currently $3.48/1,000 gallons.”

It turns out that the town of Wrightsville Beach used more water than the original agreement allowed, and since it wasn’t in the contract, there was no overage penalty. CFPUA staff suggest that if the water supplier makes another deal with the city, it’s on their terms.

“The draft contract also includes a rate multiplier for overruns of the terms of the contract (150 million gallons of water per calendar year or 800 gallons per minute). If the city exceeds 800 gallons per minute or 150 million gallons per year, a rate multiplier of 1.5 times will be used for the billing period in which the breach of contract occurs,” Waldroup said.

The city was also hoping for the CFPUA to agree to a two-year contract, but that too was advised against.

“CFPUA staff does not recommend offering a contract term of less than 5 years, as described in the 2019 contract. Deviating from the definition of long-term sales, as previously agreed and adopted in the 2019, would not be beneficial to the CFPUA or the City and could create an unnecessary workload for contract extensions if a consolidation of utilities cannot be achieved,” he said.

This is something that will likely give the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen some heartburn. At a meeting earlier this year, Alderman Zeke Partin told City Manager Tim Owens instead of asking for a better rate, to make the wording more demanding.

“I would use the word wait, don’t ask; please say ‘we expect this,'” she said.

Despite this expectation, the CFPUA staff seem to respect the regular rate.

The water supplier’s board of directors will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss various agenda items, including a new contract with Wrightsville Beach.

How we got here

RELATED: Wrightsville Beach asks CFPUA for big discount, despite prior agreement

The city has struggled with water quality for years, and in 2019 reached an agreement with the CFPUA to provide bulk water at a significantly reduced rate of $0.84 per 1,000 gallons — – typical price is $3.48 per 1000 gallons.

The discount was due to the CFPUA’s possible role in contaminating the city’s water supply with GenX due to possible cross-contamination of the CFPUA’s water which is stored near a cities well.

The city accepted three different criteria when signing the agreement, including:

  • Consolidate its system into that of the CFPUA within six months of the end of the mandate. Essentially, all customers of Wrightsville Beach would become regular CFPUA customers; WHERE
  • Agree to become a regular CFPUA bulk water customer for at least five years. The current regular bulk rate is $3.48 per 1,000 gallons; WHERE
  • Reimburse the CFPUA for the difference between the regular wholesale rate and the short-term mutual aid rate (the difference is $2.83 per 1,000 gallons at the current wholesale rate) for all water obtained under the short-term mutual aid tariff.

Regarding the consolidation agreement with the CFPUA, said that is not something that has materialized at this stage.

“Unfortunately, the City and the Authority were unable to agree on the conditions associated with the consolidation of public services. That’s not to say a consolidation of utilities can’t or shouldn’t happen, but the work needed to work out the details of a consolidation will be significant,” Waldroup said.

CFPUA board members did not respond to requests for comment on the matter, nor did city aldermen or the chief executive.

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