Ratepayers hit with hikes

RESIDENTIAL ratepayers across the region are claiming rates hikes are far more than the 6.37 per cent promoted by the council.

And judging by the phone calls and emails to the Chronicle over the past fortnight, the ratepayers are angry.

“Why has this council put up our overall rates bill by 24.6 per cent?” Michelle Kerr, who lives at Tinnanbar asks.

“We have written to the council asking them to justify this but all we get back is they are working within the Local Government Act and we are now classified as residential worth more than $50,001.

“Yet Tinnanbar has no shop, no doctor or nurse, no school bus, no employment whatsoever and Pioneer Drive has no drainage and is unsealed.

“These rates are just another tax and inflation and are not linked to maintenance and services here at all.”

Widow Jenny Burton, a former Maryborough councillor who, with her children, struggles to maintain five properties growing cane, dairy and beef cattle, is facing overall rates increases of between 10.82 per cent and 12.62 per cent – after discount.

“We will just have to do without in places and put improvements on hold. We moved here from Tiaro in 1968 and just kept working and building on the farms.

“The truth is since amalgamation we have been carrying Hervey Bay.

“I would like to know how many cars councillors are driving and how many vehicles are in the council fleet and what all of this costs.”

A council spokesman said yesterday the council had 468 vehicles in its fleet ranging from ride-on lawn mowers to front-end loaders, sedans, utes and trucks.

“In its 2010/11 budget council allocated $4.3 million to maintain and replace plant in the fleet on a priority needs and value for money basis.”

Scarness resident Doug Beutel who lives in a home on a small suburban block has had his overall rates increased by 9.16 per cent from last year.

A Burrum Heads ratepayer calculates his rates have gone up by 34.91 per cent.

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