City and LCEC to share cost of $182,000 project
Cape Coral and the Lee County Electric Cooperative found some common ground Monday night, agreeing to split the cost of relocating transmission lines on Santa Barbara Boulevard.
The $182,000 decision will be shared, with each party responsible for roughly $91,000.
The agreement allows a road widening project along Santa Barbara to continue.
LCEC originally declined to pay any of the upfront cost for the relocation of the lines in the right of way, which would have stalled the project.
Now that the cost is being split, a court appointed mediator will decide later who is responsible to pay in full. Whoever loses the decision will be responsible for the entire $182,000.
It was a rare if not unprecedented middle ground between the city and LCEC, which have shared a tempestuous relationship over the years.
Mayor Jim Burch, who has long vocalized his dissatisfaction with LCEC, said he was pleased it was able to meet the city halfway.
“I think they finally understood it should be a partnership,” he said. “Mediation is better when both parties start by meeting in the middle.”
The agreement will also include a similar arrangement on Del Prado Boulevard, north of Pine Island Road, where the Del Prado extension project is entering its final stages.
Cape Coral City Council opted not to vote on the item Monday until both Santa Barbara and Del Prado could be included in the agreement, allowing staff time to work on the document’s language.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell also praised the progress between the city and LCEC, but warned that the Cape could find itself solely responsible.
“This, in my mind, is a great step forward … however it comes out, at this point we’re moving forward,” he said. “But this does not mean the money won’t have to come from us.”
The city also plans to underground a portion of the transmission lines at a cost of $55,672.55, though the expenses will not be part of the agreement.