Bob looks at shotgun valuation
By Zoe Sinclair
Bob Vickers said he felt like taking a shotgun to someone when he discovered his patch of scrub on high ground, to be used only in emergencies, would be costing him four times his original rates.
He bought the 50 acres on School Lane, Southgate, inside State Forest as a place to put his 68 head of beef cows in the rare cases his other properties flood.
The flood reserve has barely been touched since purchase, and when he calmed down, Mr Vickers realised a mistake had been made.
Mr Vickers is one of many property owners in the Clarence Valley whose land has been valued at higher than its worth.
He paid $20,000 in November 2004 for the flood reserve, only to find the Valuer General had had its value bumped up to $85,000 and without even looking at it according to Mr Vickers.
"No one came near the place. No-one came and asked me," Mr Vickers said.
"Farmers are doing it tough enough without all these new stuff."
The 50 acres was a new property which had never been valued. Mr Vickers' solicitors worked out his rates to be $366 based on the rates of the larger property from which it was subdivided.
Based on the valuation, Mr Vickers and his wife could be hit with a rates bill of nearly $1500.
Wednesday morning they registered an objection with the Department of Lands.
Ken Mackenzie, the Department of Lands land data manager for the Northern Region, told the couple their property would be re-evaluated by an independent assessor other than the previous assessor, Southern Cross Valuation Services.
The Valuer General has admitted to 22 valuation errors in Minnie Water and Diggers Camp. Ken Mackenzie expects the number of Clarence Valley objections to rise into the thousands.