To the editor:
Reference to your article "Utility Expansion Plan Moves Forward" by Valarie Harring, May 10, 2013. The first paragraph states "stabilizing rates for existing customers," that might be the goal of the present city officials but I do not believe it is the goal of the customers. As a customer of the $100-plus bill each month, I think all customers' goal is that the city start reducing our bill and have a goal of restoring it to our $60 bill before the "unused water plant" was built.
I wonder how many water service customers have noticed that the city has raised the water rates instead of creating a separate line item to show what amount is being charged for the construction of the water plant. It kind of makes you wonder if the city intends to lower our rates once the plant is paid for. As far as the utility expansion costs are being figured out, first of all road construction should not be part of water & sewer installation. The city owns 15 feet of property on each side of the road, it is plenty of room to bury the three pipes; the storm drain should already be in place in the middle of the road. The only digging that needs to be done in the road is to make small cuts across the road to lay the pipes for each home (one cut for each group of four homes).
The Cape city council seems to have tunnel vision when it comes to taxpayers' money and the city's projects. If they looked outside the box (Cape Coral) they would find that projects done in other cities and towns across America such as water and sewer expansion is done through bonds and other financing and only the hook up charge is the responsibility of the homeowners. I have lived in Cape Coral for about 15 years and have spoken with many people from many parts of the United States including some civil engineers, I can honestly say I have never heard of anyone having to pay $20,000-plus for water and sewer hook up other than the poor expansion homeowners here in Cape Coral.
It has been a number of years since the last expansion was completed due to the economy, you would have thought the city would have at least been buying the pipe and other materials needed for this upcoming expansion and have them bought and paid for by now.
Last, the city has just spent $13.5 million on some land scattered around the Cape just in case they might need some in the expansion project. If I understood correctly, the city already had the planning completed and only needed to have the new engineers go over the plans. If that be the case, why buy the $13.5 million in land (just in case) if they already know what is needed?
Richard C. Perry