Shock at 25% rates rise
WHEN Barbara Reid opened her rates notice, she said she felt like she'd been robbed.
“It was a big shock. I was fuming,” she said after doing the maths and finding her bill had rocketed by 25%.
And she also was upset to find she'd been slugged with a $350 a year roads levy without warning.
“We weren't told this levy was coming. There's no time to campaign against it or organise a protest. We just have to pay it or risk losing the early payment discount.”
Barbara, who lives in Berserker, has joined the chorus of disapproval about the perceived unfairness of the levy.
“It's just not right that we should all pay the same. Whatever happened to the idea that the poor should pay less than the rich? The people who will have the biggest rise this year are those who can least afford it. It's all wrong.”
And when she called Rockhampton Regional Council to complain about the roads payment she says she was told everyone had always made a contribution to the roads network out of their general rate.
“That might be true. But my general rate has gone down by $32.50. The last half yearly bill for my house was $749.45 and the latest is $939.30.”
The Morning Bulletin understands the council's customer services staff have been fielding a high number of calls from residents querying the roads levy and the level of increase.
Mayor Brad Carter said it was fair comment to say there had been a degree of confusion over the levy, but he believed the new system was fairer to homeowners across the region.
“While the percentage rise for some of the lower rated homes is higher, the dollar amounts are not all that high. There were always going to be winners and losers this year because we have brought four systems together,” he said.
“But I'd like to lead with my chin and say I hope the pain will be short-lived and things will be better next year.”
He said the road levy would not cover the total annual costs of roads and a portion of the general rate would continue to be used for roads expenditure.