Sunday, November 6, 2011

Response to CFPUA Article

The StarNews has an article today trying to give all sides on the CFPUA.  Unfortunately, it's missing the one most important fact in the discussion: citizens of Wilmington are paying more with the Authority than they would be paying without it.

Simply look at pg. 11 here; the CFPUA's own document proves it.

Now, the CFPUA can make an argument that they're managing it well.  They may have a point.  I've heard other people who disagree.  I don't have the intimate knowledge of the day-to-day workings of the CFPUA to really comment.  My main argument has always been that there are structural problems with the set-up of the CFPUA that make it disadvantageous to Wilmington.

Now, let me just address a few things said in the article:
“You never hear any solutions,” candidate Napier Fuller said during the Americans for Prosperity forum last month. “Anyone who says it can be abolished is crazy.”
I'm proposing a solution (return to the city/county system,) and it's not crazy. The Interlocal Agreement that formed the CFPUA can be amended with a simple majority vote of the City Council, County Commissioners, and the Authority Board itself, which is appointed by the City and County.  This means pretty much anything can be done with the CFPUA as long as you have a majority vote of the 12 people on the Council and Commission.


City Council member Ron Sparks, who is also running, said the city would get its infrastructure back, but would also get 50 percent of the $380 million of debt. 
“How are you going to pay for this debt? You end up with an inefficient system and more debt,” Sparks said. “Now that we’ve formed it, we have to learn how to work with it. I am for keeping it and working with it.”
First off, we gave a lot of this debt to the CFPUA when it was formed, at least $67M in enterprise bonds.  Maybe more.  The paper trail is so convoluted its hard to tell.  Secondly, people don't seem to realize that the taxpayer owns, controls, however you would like to put it, both the city government and the CFPUA.  They are both public municipalities.  The taxpayer is paying for that debt whether they're being billed by the City or CFPUA.  There are, however, structural advantages that make it better to have Wilmington handle its own water and sewer.

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