Rates review member disputes overhaul of rates system
A MEMBER of the rates reference group that influenced one of the biggest overhauls to the Fraser Coast Regional Council's rates system says they still haven't got it right.
Allan Fuary, of Maryborough, claims the council didn't consider how many residents were paying the minimum rate during meetings with the rates reference group, despite major changes being introduced to the rates system on Monday.
As part of the new initiative, rates, water and sewerage will be combined into one notice billed over three cycles and any rate rises will be capped to offset pending land valuations from the State Government.
Mr Fuary, who sat on the reference committee for the rating system, said it was all "window dressing and smoke and mirrors."
"At least 80 per cent of residential ratepayers pay the minimum rate, so valuations would be meaningless," Mr Fuary said.
"Ratepayers will end up paying more, regardless of the land valuations.
"They need to introduce a sliding scale of rates to allow people to pay proportionately for a block they live on."
But Councillor Rolf Light said Mr Fuary's methodology would not lead to a "fairer and equitable" way of doing rates.
"It would be to the point where there would be multiple defaults and repossessions if we followed his belief in the minimum rate," Cr Light said.
"He's never heard about cash flow, there's no logic behind the minimum rates Mr Fuary has suggested.
"He would not accept any argument other than his own."
Hervey Bay resident Kevin Kingswell said the council needed to rethink its approach to charging rates.
Mr Kingswell claims he was forced to sell his Maryborough house because he couldn't afford "highcouncil rates" along with home maintenance and a mortgage.