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Water-only utilities for north Cape proposed

By Staff | Jan 30, 2009

Cape Coral City council members are expected to vote Monday on a proposal to bring potable water to the North 1-8 section of the city, generally defined as the area north of Pine Island Road.
The resolution’s sponsor is Councilmember Tim Day, who pushed the idea as a way to cut the cost of the original plan, which was to install water and sewer utilities at the same time as part of the city’s utility expansion project.
“We need water. I don’t think the well system is a great system,” Day said, pointing to the tendency for wells to break down during the dry season and the extensive repairs needed after a hurricane.
Under the current proposal, MWH, the company overseeing the UEP, estimates the cost of the project at $198 million. MWH project manager Larry Laws cautioned that it was a rough estimate, and bids for the project have not yet been sent out.
Not all council members, however, are sold on the project.
Councilmember Bill Deile was wary of installing one utility at a time, and said it could cost the city more in the long run.
“Water first may be a good idea if you could guarantee it wouldn’t cost more to do it all at once,” Deile said.
Day, however, tried to allay fears over the project’s cost and inconvenience to citizens. He said deferment options and hardship programs available to residents would make it easier to pay assessments during harsh economic times.
The project would take three years to complete, but Day said those who choose to defer payments would not accrue interest until they connect to the utility.
“This interest is not going to start ticking until we get to (them),” Day said.
The vote on the project will come in with one less vote than the Council’s usual quorum of eight, as Mayor Jim Burch will abstain from the vote over the topographical survey his company, DRMP, did for the North 1-2 section of the project.
The City Council will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the issue.