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Homeowners question Cape Coral stormwater fee after streets flood from weekend rainfall

Stormwater Fee
Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 06:03:31-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — Afternoon storms caused Cape Coral streets to overflow over the weekend.

Each year the City of Cape Coral charges its residents a stormwater fee, an annual $72-84 per year charge.

The city's Communications Manager, Melissa Mickey, said that the fee is based on a property's square footage, and said is used to improve the city’s drainage system and canal maintenance.

We asked Mickey if residents pay a special stormwater fee, why does the city still flood?

“Our stormwater management system is actually designed so that rainfall does not drain too quickly and in fact, if it does, drain too quickly, it could be a sign something is wrong,” said Mickey.

Mickey said a sign that something is wrong, is if standing water lasts for more than three days.

A sign, that Maria Turco said does happen on Northwest First Avenue in Cape Coral.

“It gets blocked very easy and then the water stays here,” said Turco.

It's a problem that Mickey suggested fixing by calling the city’s 311 helplines to report the issue but reiterates that homeowners should exercise patience before calling.

"During a heavy storm, rain could collect in swales and in front of inlets resulting in some standing water and it could result in standing water at an intersection, again the reason water doesn't drain immediately is that canal levels are higher than normal,” said Mickey.

Mickey said there are areas of Cape Coral that are continuing to be improved and the money collected from the city’s Stormwater Fee does impact directly.

“We are constantly, we have to work on it, maintain it, the catch basins if something gets clogged we have crews that go out, there are 23,000 catch basins we have crews that actually have to go out and check them on a regular basis, so yes the Stormwater Fee actually does go to an ongoing effort to maintain canals, the drainage system,” said Mickey.

Even with the city's answer, some residents on Monday like Gary Capristo said they want a better answer.

"Each year the city increases their budget they increase their employees they increase everything but they cant get inspectors to come out," said Capristo.