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Special meeting called to address UEP frustrations

By Staff | Jul 3, 2009

Cape Coral city council members have called a special meeting on the utilities expansion project in answer to residents who walked out of a meeting designed to outline the payment options for the SW 6/7 portion of the UEP.
Many residents angrily left the council chambers Tuesday when they were informed the meeting would not deal with the UEP itself.
Councilmember Eric Grill asked to have the meeting after hearing from residents in SW 6/7 and North 1-8, areas which face average assessments and fees of $17,058 and $6,000, respectively.
“I guess what I want to come out of it was the people who are affected by it feel like they’re voices have been heard,” Grill said.
The special meeting is set for July 14 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, six days before the council is slated to make its final vote on the UEP. The meeting will be televised on CapeTV, channel 98.
Other council members agreed to a special meeting after Grill, who sponsored the resolutions that will bring water, sewer, and irrigation utilities to SW 6/7 and water utilities to North 1-8, proposed the idea.
“I voted for it to give the people a chance to be heard and try to diffuse the situation. I sense a lot of frustration and anger out there,” Deile said.
Besides the special meeting, there will be ample opportunity for people to voice their opposition to the project.
Opponents of the UEP will hold a protest in front of city hall on July 13 at 4 p.m., and there will be public input allowed at council’s July 20 meeting before they vote on the project.
There is a sense of deja vu for some council members, however, after nearly a year of endless debate and stop and go votes on the UEP.
Councilmember Dolores Bertolini said she welcomes the meeting but wants to hear new arguments from the opposition.
“We’ve gone through this before with 6/7. We’ve heard the people before,” Bertolini said.
SW 6/7 was halted in October after initial votes for the project when Grill changed his vote.