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UEP payment plans on Cape agenda

By Staff | Jan 24, 2009

Cape Coral City Councilmembers could approve two measures Monday that would make it easier for residents in areas in which the utility expansion project has already been installed to hook up to the system and pay special assessments.
A proposed ordinance would allow for the financing of the utility capital expansion fee for properties in SW 4 and SW 5 that have gone past the 180-day time limit.
A separate resolution on Monday’s agenda would create a program for hardship deferral of special assessments, contribution in aid of construction fees, and capital expansion fees for residents that qualify.
The proposals came about after city staffers noticed a significant number of residents had not hooked up to the utility system despite its availability. In the SW 4 area, there were 504 homes out of the 2,069 improved lots that had not hooked up to the system as of Dec. 15.
Councilmember Dolores Bertolini said the measures are intended to give homeowners more of an incentive to take advantage of the potable water, irrigation, and sewer utilities.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible,” Bertolini said, but cautioned that, “It’s still going to affect (residents’) finances.”
Councilmember Bill Deile, however, was more apprehensive about the payment proposals. While the proposals will help out homeowners in the short-term, the long-term problem isn’t solved, he said.
“I’m sort of in favor of them (the proposals). It postpones the inevitable for some people,” Deile said.
Some on the dais don’t understand the resistance to the plans.
“I don’t expect anybody to have an issue with them,” Councilmember Tim Day said.
“It’s a win for the city, too, because we get more people on the system, but it’s also a win for the residents because they get the benefit of the utilities,” he added.
The two proposals will come before the City Council during Monday’s meeting, which begins at 4:30 p.m. in council chambers.