To the editor:
I have sent the following as an Open Letter to Mayor John Sullivan:
Dear Mr. Mayor,
My husband and I own a home on a three lot site in the "Southwest Five" section of Cape Coral. The water and sewer installation began a nightmare for us in 2008 and that nightmare continues to plague our financial situation. The total dollars required by the City of Cape Coral at the beginning of our dilemma was $32,864.10. I recall Alex LePera's statement at the council meeting of 5/19/08 "I don't know where Mrs. Gray got her figures from." Well, if you add $26,864.10 (water, sewer, & irrigation) plus $6,000.00 (impact fees) it isn't very hard to do the math! Ms. LePera's comment still bothers me to this day! Also, these figures don't include any of the costs to do the hookup, that was all in addition to the 33 thousand. I was in no position to pay this up front despite the fact that my husband and I both held full time jobs. The city allowed the water, sewer, and irrigation to go on our tax bill thereby increasing our monthly mortgage payment by $200.00. Do you believe that after paying in this manner for four years we still have a balance of $20,561.59 and this tax bill continues for a total of twenty years!!! The city allowed us to pay the impact fees in six years, with interest of course, we still have a $3,104.66 balance on that. It was no wonder that many people walked away from their homes surrendering them to foreclosure. I did not want this to happen to us having built and lived in our home since 1988.
I was very disappointed when Mayor Sullivan and Councilman Deile dropped their lawsuits against the city as they lived in "Southwest Four" and I thought their situations were similar to ours. There was also talk of an audit to determine if there were billing errors or overcharging. I hoped this audit might result in some kind of credit or adjustment that might take some of this burden off of the homeowners. I guess I'm living in a dream world in this instance.
Then, adding insult to injury, I was laid off in April 2010 from a job I held for seven years. Prior to that I worked for 15 years in an accounting position before the company was sold and moved the entire operation to Michigan.
Now, the next sections of the water and sewer installation are to be resumed after it was voted to hold up on the project. I attended many meetings in support of these people because of our first hand experience. I realize water and sewer is a necessity but to pass such outrageous fees on to people who are far from wealthy is not fair. We are three people living in a regular sized home, we don't use any more water and perhaps use even less water than other families, why should we have to pay so much more simply because we have a three lot instead of a two lot site?
I have thought about writing this letter every day since the onset of our dilemma but life intervened. People have no idea what others really face until they have "walked in their shoes." My dad is always saying write a letter or go down to City Hall and tell them what you think. My thoughts are when we do so it either goes in one ear or out the other or creates only a temporary fix situation, this much has been proven time and time again!
Deep down I know this won't do any good but it does help to vent once in awhile.
Thank you your ear!
Dorothy F. Gray