Cape Coral, Fla. -
If you live in Cape Coral you'll soon be paying more in taxes. City council is expected to approve a plan that will cost the average resident about $150 more per year. It's being called a "Fire Services Agreement/Public Services Tax" which implies that it's mostly about fire department issues. But it's not just about fancy new fire trucks.
It's about fire department issues, yes, but what's been missed by many people in this whole deal is that only about half of the additional $150 a year that Cape residents will be paying will go towards fire department issues and the other half will go towards paving roads. "We are able to use the money from the Public Service Tax and direct that toward road paving," says Connie Barron, the city's spokeswoman. "We've estimated that we need about $6.5 million dollars a year to keep up on our road paving and to keep our roads maintained."
That money will come, in part, from every resident in the Cape paying an average of $150 a year starting in October. It's includes the paving of some of the main roads in the Cape. "There are roads in Cape Coral that have never received any new pavement," explained Barron. "Most of that asphalt that's falling apart is in the northeast part of the Cape. But there's also roads in the more heavily populated areas in the southeast that have not have their roads paved since 1993."
Barron says the city's goal is to over the next five years pave 400 miles of roads."It's been 20 years and you get to a point where the roads start to fall apart," she added. "So, we want to get a very aggressive campaign going to repave about 80 miles of roadway every year for the next five years"
But what about the "Fire Services Agreement" part? Well, about the same amount of money will go to fire department issues with a little over $3 million for new fire vehicles, $2.7 million for new fire equipment and one million dollars for maintenance. Over the last few months city officials have come up with several options to get all this done and if they had chosen any of the other options, they say it would've been worse. "That cost would've been an additional $250 per year for the average household," said City Manager John Szerlag.
Note: At the time of this publication the meeting was not over. Most everyone assumes it will lbe approved and, if so, it will be just in time to hit your next property tax bill. City officials had to have it done by September 15th so that the tax collector can have it on property tax bills by the end of October.