CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Homeowners are upset and confused over the Cape Utilities Extension Project.
A massive project to get all current and future homes that are on wells or septic tanks, on the city’s utility system.
Cape Coral City Hall was the venue Wednesday night for an information session, inviting homeowners to ask city leaders questions about the project. A project that has some concerns about the price tag.
"We know it's necessary, it's gonna happen, but we're just trying to get all the information we can about it," said Randy Albright, a homeowner in the Cape. "It's just one of those things in life that if you move here, you accept it. You can't fight it- you can't fight city hall, right?”
Albright and his wife have been calling Cape Coral home for the last six years. When they first moved from Indiana, he says they knew their water system would have to be updated at some point. Just not the price tag they were expecting.
"We were told around that time it was going to be about 20-25,000 but now we're understanding it's 33,000 to $40,000," he said. "With all the permits and septic tank abandonment and the plumbing hookup and all the permits and everything to go with it.”
Albright says he lives off SE 21 Terrace. This area falls under the North 1 West Project. The city says there are about 3,900 parcels, or homes and businesses, in this project alone.
Another project, the North 1 East Project, has 3,300 parcels.
“Developers really aren't going to look at an area unless they know that it's got city water and utilities so they don't have to deal with a well and a septic system,” said Cape Coral Councilmember Tom Hayden.
It's a modern system, the city says, for a modern time. A time when Cape Coral is growing. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area is among the highest metro areas in the country for percentage growth in the last several years.
"We know we're only about 50% billed out so moving forward on a timeline that gets utilities, to all of Cape Coral over the next 22-23 years, it's going to be really important for not only our environment but for the future growth,” said Hayden.
Important for the environment, but also hefty on the wallet. At least for Albright, he says he has a plan.
"We're retired and it's mostly social security for us to have a small nest egg but I think we'll have to crack open the eggs on this nest egg so they're going to get some of this. We'll have to wait and see.”