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Residents to meet over Southwest 6/7 utility program; Staff to cover costs, payment options

By Staff | Oct 16, 2008

Cape Coral city officials will be on hand to discuss the utility expansion program with residents of the Southwest 6/7 corridor tonight as the project is poised to begin in that area next month.

The utility program is a controversial topic and has been a bone of contention among residents in Southwest 6/7 and other areas who have already seen the project bring water, sewer and irrigation to their neighborhoods.

Residents have said the assessments and fees, which average $17,000 per household in Southwest 6/7, are too high and will force some homeowners into foreclosure in these tough economic times.

City council members have been split on the project, and deadlocked 4-4 votes this summer stalled the program.

Then Councilmember Tim Day, who voted against the project earlier this year, changed his vote last month, paving the way for construction to begin. He said he did not want residents already on the system to face increases on their bill because of delays in Southwest 6/7.

“There was almost $8 million spent on 6/7 already doing design work. You’ve got over 5,200 rate payers that could see an increase of more than 50 percent over the next few years,” Day said.

The Southwest 6/7 area contains about 6,500 households and is generally bounded by Pine Island Road on the north, Skyline Boulevard on the east, Gleason Parkway on the south and Surfside Boulevard on the west. A detailed map of 6/7 can be found at: “http://www.capecoralutilityexpansion.com.”>www.capecoralutilityexpansion.com.

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, located at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd. Financial Services Director Mark Mason will explain the utilities project, assessments and payment deferment options and answer any questions from residents.

“I hope it takes care of a lot of (residents’) fears,” Day said. “They’re going to be able to leave that meeting knowing what their options are.”