A year and a half ago Robin Speronis of Cape Coral, Florida decided that she was no longer going to be at the mercy of others for the necessities and at the same time reduced her carbon footprint — she went off the grid. She made her home self sufficient by installing solar panels for electricity and systems to catch and purify rain water.
Her system was working perfectly until a local TV station heard about her and ran a story about her unique lifestyle. The next day a code enforcement officer came to her door and informed her that she was in violation of city housing codes.
“A code-enforcement officer came, knocked on the door then posts a placard that says ‘uninhabitable property, do not enter’,” Speronis told WFTX TV.
The city was claiming that she must use city water and electricity in order to comply with the housing code.
When Todd Allen an attorney heard of the situation he had a different take on it saying that he felt it was a case of the city just trying to bully someone over the way they choose to live their life and offered his services to Speronis free of charge.
They went to court on the charges where a judge found her to be within her rights to choose to use alternatives to these city provided services and dismissed the charges.
One week later the city had her back in court this time on charges of not paying for sewer usage. Of course because she was not using any water the city had not been billing for sewer services since the sewer charges are based on the amount of water used and she was using no city water. They have now capped her sewer and demanded that she pay thousands in past due charges.
This time the judge found in the city’s favor and gave her one month to comply.
Allen says that he would like to see the city settle the issue of the sewer bill in another way but the city is adamant that they are owed the entire amount.
“What happened here is people don’t talk to us or cooperate. We don’t communicate then we are forced to use the legal tools at our disposal,” said Frank Cassidy a code compliance officer.
Translation, ‘we didn’t realize that this woman was not being billed for sewer usage because she was not being billed for water and since the sewer bill is based on water usage we will pull a number out of the air and demand payment.’
While some local residents are sympathetic others are outraged that Speronis has not been paying her “fair share” for sewer services.
“She should absolutely have to pay for sewage usage. We all have to,” said one resident who disagrees with her.
Speronis is not going to simply give in, she has vowed to fight on telling WBBH-2, “I don’t have to justify my life. They have to. That’s the way our system of justice works. They have justify it. I don’t.”
Watch a report from WFTX below.
h/t: Opposing Views