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CFPUA recommends $750K in employee raises, critics a no-show for public hearing

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has had its fair share of critics since its conception, but the critics aren’t showing up at meetings to voice their concerns. The authority’s board held a budget workshop and public hearing Wednesday night, but no one signed up to ask questions.

The board discussed more than $750,000 dollars in raises for 285 CFPUA employees, a topic that typically gets people fired up. Two did speak about personal billing issues, but neither asked questions about the budget or potential employee raises.

“We moved this to the evening time, starting at six, with the whole idea that maybe people could come out after they got off work or something like that, because this is something that affects everyone,” said Charlie Rivenbark, a CFPUA board member and Wilmington City Councilman.

A recommended $36.7 million operating budget for the authority’s fiscal year 2013 was suggested, which adds up to about $300,000 less than last year.

“We’re trimming and getting this budget as lean as we can, trying to hold any rate increase to the bare bones minimum,” Rivenbark said.

The proposed budget also includes adding two staffing positions and a nearly 5 percent employee salary increase from last year. Board chairman Jim Quinn says added compensation is something the board has thought about for months, despite another possible rate hike.

“Several of the surrounding governments had given their employees bonuses and [we] recognized that they hadn’t had raises in a number of years,” Quinn said.

Board members say they hope more people will start showing up to the meetings and voicing their questions and concerns.

“I understand how hard it is,” Rivenbark said. “People going home with children and supper and they’re tired. And you know, we’re tired. We all work other jobs.”

The board will vote on the budget June 13th. The new fiscal year will begin July first.

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