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UEP assessments coming, use information resources

By Staff | Mar 2, 2023

North 1 West UEP Informational Packet

An estimated 8,400 property owners in the northeast Cape have received, or will receive early next year, a notice of pending assessments from the city of Cape Coral for utility expansion.

The city is nearing the start of North 1, the next component.

To be completed in two phases, the project will bring city water, sewer and irrigation water services to a 4.3-square-mile area of mostly single-family homes and lots.

North 1 West is set to begin this spring. North 1 East, with about 70 percent of the design finished, is about a year out.

The new Utility Expansion Project area is roughly bounded on the west by Santa Barbara Boulevard and Andalusia Boulevard; on the south by Hermosa Canal, Arrowhead Lake, Fairmont Canal, Balmoral Canal, Lake Zurich, Zurich Canal and Banjo Canal; in the east by Northeast 24th Avenue, Diplomat Parkway and Corbett Road; and on the north by Northeast 28th Street.

Del Prado Boulevard serves as the border dividing the West and East.

The UEP assessment will affect about 3,000 homes and approximately 5,400 vacant lots.

By how much?

Property owners in North 1 West have their numbers.

Their share of the $249.6 million piece will be $33,367 to $35,931 in assessments and fees, depending whether and when they pre-pay. Pre-paying from March 23 – Sept. 1 comes with the greatest discount. Paying between Oct. 1 to July 31, 2024 offers another, nearly $3,000 less than the first.

Those who can’t pay upfront and so opt to add an annual payment to their property tax bill beginning November 2024 get no discount and the final cost will be much higher.

The city is offering 20-, 25- and 30-year payment plans. At 6.5 percent interest, the final cost could top six figures.

That’s for a standard, 10,000-square-foot building lot. Those with an oversize parcel will pay proportionally more.

Connection costs and the cost of filling any existing septic system are not included.

So it’s a hefty levy.

In fact it is the largest assessment ever imposed in the history of the UEP since the funding method began in 1999.

What’s next?

For those in North 1 West, a few things.

One, those with questions will have an opportunity to ask them and get more information next Wednesday.

The city will host an informal informational meeting about the UEP from 5-8 p.m. on March 8 on the second floor of City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.

The meeting will be “open house style” and residents are invited to come and talk with a representative on a variety of topics:

— What to expect during UEP construction.

— Septic tank abandonment.

— Endangered species in the project area.

— The city’s hardship program for those of limited means.

There will be an opportunity for one-on-one discussions regarding payment options. (Attendees will need to check-in for these sessions to secure a time slot with city staff. Bring your assessment notice to assist staff in answering questions.)

Attending will be the six project contractors for North 1 West, Health Department representatives and city reps who can discuss the hardship program one-on-one or answer other questions.

If you can’t attend or want to familiarize yourself with the project including how the assessment has been computed and the payments options available, the city has prepared a very comprehensive 40-page information packet.

The report outlines not only the money aspects but explains in depth how construction will affect properties and roadways.

The FAQ portion is extensive.

It is a must-read for those in North 1 West and a look ahead for those in North 1 East who can expect notifications as to their assessments next year.

The packet is available HEREhttps://www.capecoral.gov/uep/north_1.php.

Meanwhile, there is one final, official step in the process.

The final public hearing for the Final Assessment Resolution has been set for March 22 in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The meeting, which will include public input, will begin at 4:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

So where are we?

If you own property in North 1 West, we suggest taking the time to look through the city’s very-well prepared guide.

If you still have questions, we suggest attending the March 8 info session at City Hall.

If you’re unhappy and want to voice your views?

You do have a last opportunity to do so but, please, it’s not at the March 8 information session.

It is at the March 22 public hearing where Council will take input in person and via e-comment at capecoral.gov/department/clerk/ecomments.

The assessments are coming and the impact on affected property owners will be huge.

It’s your money.

Be informed. Know your options.

— Breeze editorial