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Anger as Fraser Coast rates bills arrive

The mayor’s big sell that the majority of ratepayers would fork out just 5% more in rates has come into question as the first of the bills begin to arrive in letterboxes.
The mayor’s big sell that the majority of ratepayers would fork out just 5% more in rates has come into question as the first of the bills begin to arrive in letterboxes. Nat Bromhead

THE Mayor's big sell that the majority of ratepayers would fork out just 5% more in rates has come into question as the first of the bills begin to arrive in letterboxes.

Three people contacted the Chronicle in the past 48 hours with complaints the increase amount is greater than the figure Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell sold.

In July, Cr O'Connell and his council told the region most ratepayers took advantage of discounts and would pay $2.61 extra per week, $135.72 per year, or just 5% more.

Of the three people to contact this paper, one had an increase of 5.4%, another an increase of 10.5% and one experienced a whopping 24% jump.

One man from Dundowran, a pensioner, said he claimed all discounts available and was still forced to pay $265 or $5 per week more in rates in 2013-14.

"We were told it was going to be between 4-5%, it was sold as a 4-5% rise, but in actual fact it's nearer to 20%," he said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell stood by the size of increase the council promoted.

"We would have to know where they are living, what their property was, had their category been changed - there are some variables to it but for the average ratepayer on average the increase will be about 5%," he said.

"As soon as you say an average you know there will be some that are going to be under and there are some that are going to be over."

Another man  from Wondunna said he understood rates needed to increase to support growth and the supply of services but he could not understand the size of the jump.

"I guess if I've got 10% and the average is 5% some people must have no increase for it to balance out," he said.

A woman from Point Vernon said she knew he rates had gone up and was relieved to learn her 5.4% jump was not as substantial as others.

Topics:  council, fraser coast, gerard oconnell, rates



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