City Utility Assessments
For quite some time in cities like Cape Coral there was no city water available due to the history of its development. When finally this project started in the first areas, each and every lot owner got charged for the expansion through the assessments.
These costs which climbed up to more than $20,000 during the construction boom in 2005 can be paid in different ways. While the owner of the property can of course pay the whole amount at once including a discount, the city also offers payment in installments or a simple financing with them.
If you choose to finance, the city will charge you on a yearly basis and add this amount to your property tax bill. The amount is split into 3 different connection types: city water, city sewer and irrigation. The latter does not necessarily have to be connected, however the city will still charge the assessments and the basic monthly fee.
The first area that got connected to the city water supply was the southeast section of Cape Coral. Because of the direct proximity to the water the first homes in 1956 have been built there.
In the following years the water network was expanding towards the southwestern areas while the northern ones are only partly connected as of today. The homes in those areas are being supplied through a well in the backyard. The well water will be pumped to the house, transported through a cleaning system and then supplied into the house.
The sewage exits through a septic tank and a drainage field under the lawn in the front yard. The disadvantage of the well supply is that the water quality is slightly inferior to the city water and that you have to purchase and maintain the cleaning system. The advantage is that the well water does not cost anything.
Ultimately all areas of Cape Coral are designated for the utility expansion project. In any case you should bear these costs in mind when you plan on buying a house in the northern area. Thus, you have to be aware that the building cost will be increased because of the above mentioned installations and you will still have to eventually pay the city's utility expansion fees after you are finished building.
The southern sections of Cape Coral are now connected to city utilities. In general, you can say that SW and SE addresses are connected while most of the NE and NW addresses are not. The difference between the SW and SE areas is that lots in the SE often do not have any unpaid or open assessments, whereas lots in the SW usually carry a remaining assessment on them. We can find out for you the exact amounts of any open assessments by placing an inquiry with the city.
This of course will be done before you make an offer. Due to the different times when the southern sections got connected the owners accordingly started paying their assessments (6 months after the expansion is done you have to be connected and will pay the first amount with the property taxes in that respective year).
The majority of the SW lots still have assessments unpaid. Standard practice is to assume these unpaid assessments and continue to pay them until you sell your property to someone else.
In Cape Coral, it is customary for the buyer to assume the unpaid portion of these city utility assessments at closing, however everything is negotiable. Each payoff, either the complete amount at once or the yearly one with the property taxes increases the value of the lot. While the assessments are usually pretty much the same in the south of the city, the amounts in the regions where the utility expansion took place last (Southwest 6 & 7 and North 2) are different as the city change the conditions for the financing for these projects moving forward.
Example of a property tax bill with the Assessments: