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City needs to better promote its assessment hardship program

February 23, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

I have submitted the following letter to Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello:

Mayor Coviello,

I am one of the hundreds of your constituents, both young and old whose hard earned (and in my case retirement) money will be going in to pay for assessments.

Past mayors and city councils I believe didn't have the foresight to make the developers pay for laying down the infrastructure, or issuing bonds, so now all of your fellow citizens have to needlessly endure out-of-sight water use bills, and others contemplate how to meet payments being forced upon them for this work.

In late 2017, a pamphlet was mailed out by the city outlining schedules, pay rates and so forth. Tucked away on one of the pages was a short notification of Hardship Deferral that was available for those affected by this outrageous shortsightedness by past elected leaders of the City of Cape Coral.

I had called the people in charge of the applications and started thinking about my neighbors affected by this. Just recently, I started asking around and found out that almost no one in my neighborhood had one. I immediately scanned my copy and emailed it around to others in my neighborhood. While doing so I was thinking 1) why isn't there an electronic copy available on the city's website, and 2) why isn't the city being more proactive in mailing out copies to the people in the affected area(s)?

This is the same type of vacuous thinking that has brought us to this point. One thing that should be expected from a civil administration is its concerns towards its constituency. This problem started with people whose mindset, imagination and courage didn't match the responsibilities of their office. Now families just starting out, and people who had been looking forward to a care free retirement find themselves saddled with a plumbing bill starting in the 30k range.

While the situation cannot be reversed, I believe (no, I insist) that your office should prioritize an outreach program consisting of setting up that online application, and mailing out applications-and finding a way to advertise it-to every home owner in the areas now being affected; furthermore, making it procedure for any future development. Not doing so would otherwise be underwriting your administration's lack of concern, accountability and commitment to your fellow neighbors and citizens.

In closing, I would appreciate a timely response about how you intend to-if you are going to at all-amend this shortfall to the benefit constituencies.

Philip L. Abbondanza

Cape Coral



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