Carteret County water sale to for-profit business tabled, new vote to increase rates sparks confusion

Crystal Coast

BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) – The vote to sell a water system in Carteret County is tabled until July 19 but another vote to raise the rates for the people using the system was made.

Commissioner Chris Chadwick says a 5.5 cent tax caused concern for some people, because they didn’t use the water system. 

It was voted, Monday night, to get rid of that tax for all. This decision will increase system rates by 95%. 

Chadwick says that it was the percentage that will allow the county to break even and have extra money to maintain the system.

Whether we keep it or sell it, we wanted to do away with the tax, and then we also decided to go ahead and raise the rate which is what the people have asked for, raise the rate to a reasonable price that would put the system in the black and have a little bit of money to allow for maintenace and scheduled parts or replacements.

Carteret County Commissioner Chris Chadwick

However, during an April commissioners meeting, it was presented by County manager, Tommy Burns, that for the county to make money and fund the water system, they would only have to increase rates by 87.1%. 

Slide from Tommy Burns presentation, 4/19/2021


BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) — For months, Carteret County citizens and commissioners have been discussing the idea to sell one of the county’s water systems that servers around 1,200 people.  

Commissioners have been presented with a $9.5 million offer from Charlotte-based Carolina Water Service Of N.C. While plenty of people living in the county are concerned about this effort, commissioners decided during Monday night’s meeting to table the matter until next month’s meeting.

The vote was unanimous by the board.

For now, the debate continues on both sides of the discussion. Commissioner Chris Chadwick said before Monday’s meeting he sees both sides of the discussion.  

Citizens have expressed in a group called ‘Carteret County For Public Water’ on Facebook that if not selling it to the for-profit company means they have to pay more, they will pay.  

On the other hand, Chadwick said $9.5 million could offer better pay for county employees and diminish the five-cent tax for citizens that don’t use the water are currently being charged. 

I’ve listened to the people I have met with them several times and they understand their rates would have to go up and I am for raising the price get the system in the black, I’ll see how it goes for a few years and if we still have problems and want to sell it down the road that may be an option.

Chris Chadwick, Carteret County Commissioner

Patrick Kelly, the Co-Founder of the Group ‘Carteret County Citizens for Public Water,’ said he understands the decision commissioners have to make but wants them to listen to the people that elected them into office.  

My biggest concern is that the water system would be sold to a for-profit company where their number one priority would be making profits for shareholders.

Patrick Kelly, Co-Founder CC4PW

Commissioner Ed Wheatley represents the area in question. He says he truly is 50/50 on the matter but after hearing discussion Monday night, that might change. He said he does want what is best for the county.

WATCH: Carteret County Commissioners Meeting 6/21/2021

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