LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A North Fort Myers woman says she's entitled to a piece of a $19 million dollar by the city of Cape Coral.
The extra money is coming from a utility expansion project in the 1990's. The homeowner says she paid into the project just like everyone else, but the city says she's not getting a dime.
Sara Goulding lived in a Cape Coral home for 20 years and during that time: "We did pay all the assessments," she explained.
But in 2005, she sold the house, and moved to North Fort Myers. She says the people who eventually bought her old home don't even live in Florida. "It's just unfair that someone who doesn't live here, now, or in the near future, should be receiving the money that I put into the assessments," she said.
The city closed the books on about 54,000 accounts associated with the legacy utility assessment areas from the 1990s, but found out there was money left over after hooking people up to city sewer, water and irrigation. So, the city is refunding current property owners, from nine assessment areas, a total of $19 million.
"You know in this day and age, computers, I would think he would be able to find out who the original owners who paid for the assessments were," she said.
City spokeswoman Connie Barron says the refund, which is anywhere from a couple dollars to several hundred dollars will only go to current property owners. "When a property is sold, the seller recoups the value of that improvement in the sales price so, consequently the buyer acquires that value in their purchase price. It's a package deal," Barron said.
"I just think its a matter of principal and its unfair," said Goulding.
The city also says it would be next to impossible to go through the 54,000 accounts to track down different owners through the years.
The refunds are expected to start going out the beginning of next month. and will continue through the summer.