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Tue September 18, 2007
Cape Fear Utility Authority Taking Shape
By Megan V. Williams
Wilmington, NC – The agreement to formally create the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is already thousands of pages long, documenting all the assets both governments would turn over to the body and the detailed functions of their existing water and sewer departments.
When it's complete, the interlocal agreement between Wilmington, New Hanover County, and the Authority itself will lay out its assets, structure, and terms of operation.
The city and county have hit two points of disagreement. According to City Attorney Tom Pollard, Wilmington officials want to require the Authority get approval before making any service arrangements with other local governments. The two sides also disagree about the exact mechanism to dissolve the Authority if it fails to adhere to guidelines.
The two groups agreed that the Authority cannot lower employees pay from what they made before and that it should follow the same long-range expansion plans as the city and county.
The Authority already has a lawyer unofficially involved in the process, but needs interim funding to hire that position. County commissioners approved close to a million dollars for start up costs on Monday. City Council votes on an equal amount at its meeting tonight.
The Authority is intended to take over water and sewer in areas currently served by the City of Wilmington and the New Hanover County Water and Sewer District
If the interlocal agreement is approved, the Cape Fear Utility Authority will officially start business next July.
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