CAPE CORAL, Fla. City Council approved a program to help homeowners with damaged seawalls Monday night.
The council arranged to allow homeowners to apply for assistance via the Florida PACE Funding Agency, a program originally designed to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and wind-hardening improvements.
The assistance will function as an assessment that will allow homeowners to pay for repairs over time through their property tax bills.
City Council approval came over the objection of Mayor Marni Sawicki, who expressed concern over the timeline for repayment and how the program would function for those with poor credit.
The council’s action came as residents brought serious concerns about how to pay for seawalls that some estimates peg at $50,000.
“I think I’m the only one that feels like this is an emergency,” Ronda Schwerdtfeger said. “Are we going to sell our property and just leave the area? What are we going to do?”
Schwerdtfeger is one of the hundreds whose seawall was demolished from Hurricane Irma.
“It’s going lower and lower every day, and eventually, if they don’t get to it and something isn’t resolved, this is going to affect the foundation of my home,” Schwerdtfeger said.
Like other homeowners, Schwerdtfeger is in a tough spot when it comes to fixing it.
“It’s a lot of money and at a point in our life, our house is paid for,” Schwerdtfeger said. “We live paycheck to paycheck. We want to save up to take a weekend vacation. We can’t do that now. We’re looking at a $50,000 loan that we’re going to have to get.”