St. Cloud residents fight $9,500 water hook-up fee

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Some St. Cloud homeowners are outraged after being told they'd have to spend nearly $10,000 to hook up to city water.

The cost has skyrocketed in the past few years and the homeowners told Channel 9's Nancy Alvarez city officials won't tell them why.

Almost all of the homes in one St. Cloud community use wells and some of the wells are almost 20 years old and covered in rust.

Many residents said they want change but the city is making it impossible.

“It's time we get into the 21st century with water,” said resident Judy Laffey.

Laffey said the septic system they've been dealing with for years makes the water rusty.

“It's only water. We're not asking for gold-plated pipes,” Laffey said.

In 2009, a survey showed Laffey would have to pay around $3,500 to switch from a well to city water.

At the time most homeowners on her street weren't interested in making the change so the idea was dropped.

Almost five years later another survey showed more homeowners were on board with the switch but were shocked when they got their estimates.

“I was floored. I can't wrap my brain around $9,500 dollars for water,” Laffey said.

The cost had almost tripled.

Alvarez asked city officials what changed in the past five years to cause the cost to spike.

A spokesperson sent WFTV an email pointing out a construction fee. 

She said the city hadn't updated that fee in 11 years and the City Council voted to raise it on Feb. 13, five days before Laffey got her new estimate.

Laffey and her mother said the huge increase doesn't make sense and they plan to fight it.

“If there's an answer coming, I hope it's a positive one for us,” Laffey’s mother, Mary Downs, said.