Finance Frequently Asked Questions
What if I cannot afford to pay my utilities assessments?
The City provides a Hardship Deferral Option for permanent residents of Cape Coral. Residents must meet specific income guidelines as established by the federal government. The City also offers financial assistance through Community Development Block Grants to very low income families to connect to the system.
Click here to download the Hardship Application Package
Can I pay off an assessment?
After the assessments have been levied, if you did not prepay the assessments by July 31, you will pay Amortized Payments. Annual installments are calculated during the months of August and September each year. Therefore, after July 31, benefited property owners may also pay off the imposed special assessment by paying the annual assessment amount included on the tax bill to the Lee County Tax Collector and the remaining principal balance of the assessment to the City of Cape Coral. Any one or all of the assessments may be paid in full. Upon payment in full of both the annual assessment (to the Lee County Tax Collector) and the remaining principal balance of the assessment (to the City of Cape Coral), the assessment will no longer appear on the tax bill.
Is the cost of driveway replacement included in the assessment?
Yes. The portion of the driveway that the Contractor removes to construct the water, irrigation or force mains will be replaced by the Contractor at no additional cost to the property owner.
What is the cost of having a septic tank pumped and demolished?
Based on recent experience with SW 6&7 UEP, the costs to have all three utilities (water, sewer and irrigation) connected from the property line to the home is roughly $1,500 - $2,000, including septic tank pump-out and abandonment. The Health Department also charges a $75 septic tank abandonment fee.
Why doesn't the City defer the line extension and CFEC assessments for undeveloped parcels?
The UEP is funded by assessments imposed on the properties benefiting from the project. The City has arranged for low interest loans to provide an affordable means for property owners to pay the assessments over a 6 year (CFEC) and 20 year (Line Extension) period. The assessment methodology proposed by the City provides a fair, equitable and predictable means for funding the proposed improvements.
If a property owner pays for the irrigation assessment but elects to continue to use their well for irrigation, will that property owner be billed monthly?
Connection to the irrigation system is not mandatory. The property owner is billed a monthly charge for irrigation if connected. If not connected, there is no monthly for irrigation.
If I sell the property and have not prepaid, do I have to pay the assessment?
Typically, if you participate in the Amortized Payment Option, you do not have to pay off the assessment if you sell the property. The assessment continues to be assessed against the property regardless of the owner. However, there are some exceptions. You will be required to pay all remaining assessment balances in full if (1) the Tax Parcel is acquired by a public entity (other than the City) through condemnation, negotiated sale or otherwise, or (2) a tax certificate has been issued and remains outstanding in respect of the Tax Parcel and the City, at its sole option, elects to accelerate the assessment. The assessment is imposed annually on the tax bill for the property. However, please note that some banks and other lending institutions may require payment in full.
Do I have to choose the same payment option for each assessment?
No. You can elect a different payment option for each assessment. For example, if your property is receiving three utility services (potable water, wastewater and irrigation), you could elect the Initial Prepayment for potable water, the Adjusted Prepayment for wastewater, and the Amortized Payment Option for irrigation.
What is the City's methodology for assessing property owners for the extension of water, sewer and irrigation mains?
The Line Extension assessment methodology is based on an equivalent parcel (EP) unit of 10,000 sf. City Council has considered alternative methodologies and has determined the EP methodology is the most equitable approach for this project.
If I participate in the Amortized Payment Option, can the annual installment be escrowed with my home mortgage payment?
Yes. If you make monthly payments that include an escrow for property taxes, then the non-ad valorem assessments will be added into the payment amount. You will probably be contacted by your escrow agent regarding the increase in the escrow amount. As soon as the assessment is approved, it is advisable that you contact your mortgage company or escrow agent as soon as possible after that to begin escrowing the annual installment that will be due.
Is there a discount for disabled veterans or senior citizens?
No. However, disabled veterans and senior citizens may qualify for the City's hardship program that assists individuals and families based on income qualifications. Please call (239) 242-3852 and ask to talk to a City staff member regarding the hardship program.
Do we have to connect to the new lines after they are installed?
Yes. State law requires that anyone adjacent to these utilities connect to water and wastewater. You are not required to connect to the irrigation water system; however, you are still required to pay the assessment. You will receive a "Notice of Availability" letter when your particular area has been approved for connection. This mailing will outline the process and time period for connection.
What if I cannot afford to pay the plumber's connection?
The City has provided grant funding to Cape Coral Housing Development Corporation to assist homeowners with the cost of connecting to City water and sewer in the Utility Extension Areas. Income eligible homeowners may be eligible to receive a grant of up to $2,000, which may be used to run the lines from the street to the home, the septic abandonment and meter fees.