$19 million in refunds coming to some Cape homeowners
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - What would you do with a cut of $19 million?
That's what some Cape Coral homeowners are dreaming about after learning they'll likely see a refund check from the city.
Some homeowners in the 1990's paid more for major utility assessments than the projects ending up costing, so now the city is refunding the extra money back with interest.
Four In Your Corner's Colleen Hogan has the details and is talking to homeowners.
Long Island transplants, Lee and Patricia Emery love their Cape Coral home.
"Everyone's so friendly," Lee Emery said. "It's just a nice area to be in."
The couple will likely see a refund check from the city this June, for money that was over-paid by homeowners on utility expansion project assessments back in the 1990's.
"I think we're surprised,"Emery laughed. "We didn't know about this."
Even though the Emery's never paid those original assessments, as they've only owned their home a few years, they'll get the refund.
Homeowners in the Southeast Cape, who financed the work likely know they have money coming back to them, because they just finished paying on the 18-year loan. Others might have forgotten they already paid some smaller assessments.
"Some people might have two or three accounts," Cape Coral spokesperson Connie Barron said. "You might have a water account, an irrigation account and a waste water account."
But is it fair?
I asked the city spokesperson why the refund wouldn't go to the person who originally paid it.
"The benefit of the utilities goes to the property," she said. "Not to the property owner at the time. If someone sells the property - in theory- they're supposed to be able to recoup value of that benefit."
"Even still, do you think homeowners might be upset that they're not going to get that refund?" Hogan asked Barron,
"There will be people that will call us and ask us why the refund is going to the current property owner," she said.
This will likely be the last time homeowners can expect money back from over-payment on a utility project assessment.
Barron says the way major projects are funded has changed, which allows the city to better predict how much something will cost.
Colleen Hogan, reporter