THE extraordinary rate rise being sought by the Coffs Harbour City Council has an Upper Orara family wondering how they are going to meet the rapidly increasing cost of living.
Rob Rogl said the seven per cent rate increase will make it even harder to make ends meet.
“The rise equates to $86.49 a year which is not a lot,” Mr Rogl said.
“But when you factor in everything else that is going up I worry that it may be the nail in the coffin for many families.”
Mr Rogl said the rate rise will take the rates on his house block on South Island Loop Road to around $1310 a year.
“In 2001 when I bought the original one-acre block, my rates were $715.44 a year. If the rise gets approved it will equate to an 84 per cent rise over nine years. That’s outrageous given we don’t have town water, sewerage or curbing and guttering,” he said.
“We have four children and everything involved in looking after them and sending them to school keeps increasing. Grocery prices have soared and we’re now being told to expect a huge increase in electricity costs.
“Australia already has one of the highest levels of household debt in the world and that doesn’t look like getting any better, and yet wages aren’t going up by the same amount.
“When will it all stop.”
Mr Rogl conceded that since 2001 he had bought farmland off a neighbour to increase his block from 4040 to 5840sq m and that the Valuer General estimation of the worth of his property has increased significantly.
The Coffs Harbour City Council director of corporate services Craig Milburn said that the increase in rates paid by Mr Rogl over the past eight years has been largely due to appreciating land values.
“Since 2001 the value of Mr Rogl’s land had increased from $62,000 to $188,000,” Mr Milburn said.
That, however, is of little comfort to Mr Rogl.
“An increase in the value of my property doesn’t make it any easier for me to look after my family,” he said.
“I can’t support this rate rise because at some stage this gouging of money from average families has to stop.”
Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Steve Sawtell said he could sympathise with Mr Rogl because council itself was in a similar situation.
“Our income is restricted by rate pegging and our costs are constantly going up so if we can’t raise more funds we will start to go backwards,” Mr Sawtell said.
“Ten years ago drought proofing was a priority for the city. That has been achieved and now our priority is to flood proof Coffs Harbour and the only way we can do that is to seek a special rate variation.”