The city of Cape Coral is underway on a huge conversion from private wells and septic systems to city utilities. Most of the SW and all of the SE area already connected, but the majority of the NW and NE remains to be converted. With this change comes assessments. Here's an overview of how it works.
There are 3 parts to the improvements: 1) City water lines 2) Gray water / recycled water lines and 3) sewer lines. All three are typically done at the same time. Once added and made available to an area, connection to the city water and sewer is mandatory and it is the responsibility of the homeowner to take the proper steps to connect. This involves hiring a plumber to trench new a new water line to the home, to collapse the existing septic tank and to connect to the sewer system. Connecting to the flat rate gray water line (for irrigation purposes) is optional.
There are two major costs involved. 1) The Capital expansion fee (ex: $5,400) and the assessments (ex: $12,632) that apply. They therefore total $18,032 in this example. Each portion of town varies a bit and the city can provide you with more specific details, but this overview will provide you with a good start.
Upfront costs: The costs that will immediately be incurred when city utilities come available are as follows: There are connection fees (ex: $1200-1500 to the plumber), a septic abandonment permit ($75), the passed along cost of a water meter purchase and installation ($310), and a utility account deposit ($100).
The Capital expansion fee can be spread out over a six year term. Optionally, they can be paid up front.
The assessment portion can be spread out over a 20 year term. Most homeowners choose to do so, and the annual amount due is simply added to their tax bill. This adds, for example $1,202 to the tax bill. Calculating this amount over 20 years at an interest rate of 5% means that over the full 20 year term, it will cost the homeowner $24,040.
Note that it is customary for buyers to assume the balance remaining due on assessments on properties which indeed have a remaining balance. Given the length 20 year pay back period, many properties do indeed have an amount remaining.