Cape Coral City Council deciding on water pipeline, vacation property tax

Published: February 2, 2022 8:28 AM EST

On Wednesday, the Cape Coral City Council will discuss issues that include bringing more much-needed water into the community and charging homeowners taxes on vacation rental properties.

During the dry season, the water levels in Cape Coral canals can get dangerously low. The city council will vote whether or not to approve what is essentially the final step of a pipeline project, meaning they would be able to start the horizontal drilling soon and Cape Coral residents would be even closer to seeing more irrigation water coming in.

The pipeline is a reclaimed water line that starts in Fort Myers. It takes extra reclaimed water and disposes of it in an environmentally friendly way. Instead of going into the Caloosahatchee River, it will go to the Everest Reclaimed Water Facility in Cape Coral.

“Bringing more irrigation water to our city, which is what it will do once the once the line is put in, and we’ll be collecting reclaimed water from the city of Fort Myers,” said Cape Coral City Councilman Tom Hayden. “That will help us, especially during the dry season when our canals might get low, to fortify those canals with water, and how important that is, too, for water levels and pressure, especially for the fire department when they use water from our canals.”

City water regulations will to change, however, meaning Cape Coral residents will still have to stick to watering only two days a week. If approved at Wednesday’s meeting, the process of drilling under the river and getting that pipeline installed will be ready to go.

Cape Coral is also considering charging anyone who rents out vacation properties, requiring them to pay taxes just like hotels and motels.

It would be a one-time payment and vacation homeowners would only have to pay $5.50 per room. The total for a four-bedroom house, then, would come to $22. The city wants to implement this tax because hotels pay the same fee, and there are more than 3,000 vacation rental properties in Cape Coral.

“It’s not that you’re going to be taxed every single night on every single room,” Hayden said. “It’s a one-time fee, the same fee that our hotels pay as well. And with so many rental properties, we think it’s only fair that they pay the tax as well… they’re popular in our area, you know, we have an area that’s becoming more and more a destination place for people to stay. So, I think the fees are very fair.”

If the other council members agree and the tax passes, it becomes effective immediately, though there will have a grace period; Cape Coral will let everyone know it’s coming and then apply the tax.