News

Rate rise designed to prevent bigger increase in future

AS RATEPAYER anger grows over this year's rate rise, the Fraser Coast Mayor says it was essential to build the region and prevent a larger increase in a few years.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell resisted describing his "3% general rise" as short-term pain for long-term gain, but admitted it was to prevent a larger one in years to come.

Some Fraser Coast residents have been shocked this week after opening their 2013-14 rates notice.

Brian and Catherine Benham own two Scarness investment properties.

They have owned one for more than 15 years.

Mr Benham said he was shocked and disappointed the council had raised his rates for investment properties without notifying him or his real estate agent.

"What upset us about the whole thing was there was no consultation by the council," he said.

Cr O'Connell could one day be tagged as the infrastructure mayor, with $500million budgeted for building and maintaining the Fraser Coast over the next 10 years.

"I live in Maryborough and I'm seeing we're doing more on infrastructure in Maryborough than we did five years ago - and that will increase," he said.

Cr O'Connell also attributed the rate rise to the increasing cost of running the council business, and diminishing help from other governments.

"The subsidies and the grants we once had to help us deliver the services to the local area have also diminished, State and Federal," he said.

"We've got some costs that have been hoisted on to us.

"The buck stops with local government so therefore we've got that job of being not only sustainable, but providing the services people want."

Topics:  council rates fraser coast regional council gerard o'connell hervey bay maryborough mayor rates



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