Rates shock as some Gympie bills surge 8%
GYMPIE'S rates notices have arrived and some residents are less than impressed, taking to social media to vent about increases in excess of 8 per cent.
Widgee's Jodie Cotter said on Facebook hers had ballooned about $950 to more than $1700, and Warren Bolton said he had been slugged 9.2 per cent more this year.
Jodi Wruck, who owns two blocks of land near Scrubby Creek, said this year's half-bill on one block jumped from just over $1750 to almost $2000, an increase of more than 8 per cent.
The increase comes despite the council delivering a June budget claiming an average 1.8 per cent rise across all categories.
Ms Wruck said she "knew (a large rise) was coming” even with all the talk about rates at CPI - but it did still not make it easier to manage.
"I'm only getting a 1.5 per cent pay rise this year,” she said yesterday.
All up she said the 100 acres of land, which is rated separately thanks to a gazetted road, is costing them about $6000 annually.
It was bought "to start a new beef business” Ms Wruck said, but the above average rate rises were an ongoing challenge.
"There's no support,” she said.
Mayor Mick Curran said when the budget was handed down in June the large increase for rural residents was caused by the State Government's latest land valuations.
Properties in Dagun, Kandanga and Amamoor had their values soar by more than 70 per cent.
Traveston, Woolooga, Neerdie and Gunalda all rose more than 10 per cent, and Gympie's values increased 7.4 per cent.
"Those landholders had every opportunity to go back to the State Government and contest those valuations,” Cr Curran said at the time.
"The most equitable way for us to levy the rates was to pass on a 1.8 per cent increase over all properties within the region.
"We couldn't work out a system fairer than that.”
It is a position rejected by Ms Wruck.
"It's a poor excuse,” she said.
"I know the way council works their rates. They can reduce the (rate-in-the-) dollar value to lower your rates.”
And the rise was extra frustrating as the property does not have water and sewage access, and sits on an unmaintained road.
"Our letterbox is 1km from our house.
"We have to maintain it,” Ms Wruck said.
Each of the council's average rate rises in the past four years has been above CPI: a 2.1 per cent increase in 2016 (Australia's CPI increase was 1 per cent); 2.1 per cent in 2017 (CPI 1.9 per cent); 2.5 per cent in 2018 (CPI 2.1 per cent); and 1.8 per cent this year (CPI 1.6 per cent).
Cr Curran was asked if he agreed his re-election promise to "keep rate rises in check and will not deliver a rate rise higher than CPI if elected” had been broken by these rises.
He had not responded by print deadline.