City residents have say on rates
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
SOME Gladstone City residents are paying more than $3500 in rates each year and it looks set to rise.
Recently Gladstone City Council opened up its rating system to public notification, giving residents the opportunity to comment on the system.
It is the first review of its kind to be held in Gladstone for about 20 years.
A number of submissions were received from residents in the Catalina area, identifying what they believe to be inequities in the rating system.
One resident, Nicole Carnovale, described the rating system as unfair and unsustainable.
'Council has the ability and the specialists to review the system and adopt a fairer method. Other councils do it, so why can't Gladstone?'
Property rates are based on the unimproved value of the block of land, which is determined by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
This means higher valued properties, such as those in areas of strong growth, are billed more for their annual rates, a system adopted all over the state.
However, some councils elect to cap their rates so higher valued properties are not charged more than the capped amount.
The difference is then offset among other ratepayers. Mrs Carnovale said that while the perception was that people with high valued blocks could afford to pay more for their rates, it wasn't always the case.
'Our rates went up at least 20 per cent in one year, but our income stayed the same,'' she said.
Gladstone City Council chief executive Julie Reitano said the council did not like to cap local rates because it meant rates on higher valued properties were shared by other residents.
Even though the public notification period for rates has closed, Ms Reitano encouraged anyone with questions or issues to still write in and have their say.
Ms Reitano expected the review to bring some major changes to the rating system.