Council overcharges seniors village owner $20,000 in rates
A MARYBOROUGH residential complex providing an "essential" service to its lower socio-economic residents has been hit with a mammoth rate rise by the Fraser Coast Regional Council according to the owner.
Maryborough Seniors Village owner Bruce Wicks said his general rates notice showed a $20,000 increase in the 2013-14 financial year.
He said the increase was due to the council incorrectly categorising his property between commercial and multi-residential.
The notice was retracted in a letter seen by the Chronicle, which apologised to Mr Wicks for the "administrative oversight".
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But Mr Wicks said that was the latest in several rises with rates jumping from $27,484 seven years ago to now more than $80,000.
Mr Wicks said most of his residents' government pensions had only risen about 30% in that time.
"We provide an accommodation service for retired and disabled pensioners from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum," he said.
"Council charges increased by 10 times CPI over the past seven years.
"This is outrageous and an unsustainable tax burden for small business."
But Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said when reflecting over a long period, many variables could influence the bottom line.
He attributed a compression of rates categories and State Government levies as part of the reason.
"The rates for this property are being charged in accordance with council's rates and charges schedule and is in accordance with what other like accommodation establishments are paying," he said.
Cr O'Connell said in the past three years the council had had the lowest increase in general rates increase in many years.