Question of the Week, Week six: Utility Expansion Project
Each week through the primary, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. The question of the week for week six is: Do you support the Utility Expansion Project as it is currently implemented?
Why or why not? What, if anything, would you change?
MICHAEL S. BOGLIOLE
I support bringing city water to our residents and businesses. It’s important that our commercial areas have the city water that they need in order to bring more commercial growth however I believe that is important that the city continue to find ways to attract more business and residents to offset the high cost of the UEP project.
Forcing residents to pay $18,000 I feel is extreme, they need to find a cheaper solution to putting these utilities in. If the city grew to 100 percent are the residents still expected to continue to pay $18,000-plus? Where does the excess money go – is it returned to the taxpayers or is it squandered away on some other project that the city feels is needed without the input of the taxpayer?
JOHN CARIOSCIA – Incumbent
I support the Utility Expansion Project.
The Utility Expansion Project has added rate payers onto the program, so to share in the maintenance costs, as proposed, when the UEP was started.
The result of re-starting the UEP, was an immediate lowering of the base water bill by 3 percent and locking those rates in for 10 years.
This was unprecedented.
Small manufacturing, as well as other commercial venues have told our Economic Development staff, that they are only interested in coming to a City that has proper infrastructure, such as City water and City sewers, not wells and septic systems.
I do support the current utilities extension projects. We should be finished with 6 and 7 this year and 1 and 2 expansion. Our department managers look at trends of growth in Cape Coral to determine areas they feel will develop and the need for such projects. I would like to see that each area is built out to 50 percent before we put a hardship on our residents.
I would like first to consider water and irrigation before tearing up our roads for sewer when possible.
RICHARD LEE REPASKY
I believe that the entire city of Cape Coral needs to be eventually at the point where city water, sewer and power are available to all sites. I feel that this does move the Cape forward and is a good goal which should be part of the yearly budget.
Once these utilities are in place, then those sites’ assessed values need to be adjusted and the owners taxed at a higher rate since they will be able to develop and sell at a higher premium.
I do support the current utilities extension projects in 6 and 7. This project should be completed sometime in 2015.
It is a known fact that having water and sewer installed on properties make the property more desirable for resale in residential and commercial projects. I still support the rule of 50 percent build out before implemented utilities expansion projects.
I would work with the department managers to see if we have covered everyone that would be affected.
JEROME “JERRY” DOVIAK
Yes I do support the UEP going forward for several reasons:
The State of Florida DEP has made it very clear that construction will cease as we know it when the city hits a point of population growth that is consistent with clean environment guidelines. The leaching of septic tank runoff into the canals and water table are being monitored. Therefore, as long as growth continues, infrastructure is a must.
All current UEP customers should realize a savings into the future as more customers come on line. Commercial growth will not happen without a sustained infrastructure.
I understand the arguments on both sides of the issue; there are long-time residents who get a bill they weren’t expecting; there are newer residents moving into areas that are complete with infrastructure and don’t feel the same pain. I will always look for better and/or more efficient ways to do the business of the people.
I support utility expansion, and in fact during our 33 years here, we have paid for three expansions. A city needs potable water and sewer, not wells and septic tanks on quarter acre lots.
To bring business to the Cape they need a stable installed infrastructure. When someone buys and there is not city water/sewer, they need to understand the time will come when the expansion will hit their property.
Our city works with residents to set up payment plans … so that no one is forced to move. A difficult but important decision is to be aware that when purchasing a home, this expense could be right around the corner.
TIMOTHY W. BARRIER
The Utility Expansion Project is substantially complete south of Pine Island Road. Current plans are to begin installation to the north. I support the utility expansion project for several reasons:
1. We cannot grow the city to 400,000+ residents with an average of four septic tanks and four shallow wells per acre.
2. Businesses must have utilities before they can locate here.
3. There are currently a very limited number of fire hydrants north of Pine Island Road. This is a huge safety issue. Even though Chief Cochran was able to obtain a low Insurance Services Office rating for the city thereby reducing homeowner insurance rates across the board for all residents, it is still a major concern that the Utility Expansion Project will alleviate.
I support continuing the Utility Expansion Project. It makes sense for the environment, for our residents, and for our economy as a whole.
Cape Coral is one of the biggest cities in Florida (both in geography and in population). It’s time we join the ranks of the other major cities and offer city water and sewer to all properties. Having utilities in the ground will make Cape Coral a viable location for businesses looking to relocate or start up.
I am committed to supporting the most economically sound methodologies for future UEP areas, to ensure that the residents are not unfairly burdened.
SAMUEL J. FISHER
The city has learned from the mistakes of the past and has implemented policies that allow for an expansion of utilities at a greater rate. A city of the 21st century needs proper water, sewer and irrigation systems where the population allows for it.
The Florida Revolving State loans have been able to provide these services at a responsible cost to the residents of Cape Coral. After North 1 and 2, the community has the opportunity to look at expanded amenities like what was recently brought up at a council meeting.
As suggested in council, I would like the city to investigate, laying conduit next to the water lines to one day hold future technologies such as fiber.
Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan,citywide elections meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.
* Early Voting
Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Primary Election
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
* Voter Registration Book Closes
Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. for the General Election
* Early Voting
Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* General Election
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.