NO BRUSH OFF

By DAVID BANCROFT

FACED with a whopping 60 per cent hike in their rates bill, Brushgrove residents have vowed to do everything in their power to fight the proposed increases.

The first step is to attempt to get their land valuations reassessed.

If that fails they will be banging on the door of the Clarence Valley Council, asking that they be given some relief.

This week the council released figures outlining its proposed rating formula.

They showed parts of Clarence Street, Brushgrove, would face average rate increases of 60 per cent while other sections of the same street would experience an eight per cent decrease.

Other areas to face hefty increases include Grevillia Street, Minnie Water (38 per cent), Sandon Road (29 per cent), Coldstream Street, Ulmarra (17 per cent), Tucabia (from 13-19 per cent) and Clarence Street, Ashby (31 per cent).

Elaine and Colin Perkins bought their riverside property in Brushgrove 15 years ago for $28,000. In 2004 it was valued at $274,000.

With that land valuation they expect to have a rates bill of more than $2000 next year and believe they will struggle to find the money for the bill.

"We are just battlers and we have just battled to put in a jetty," Mrs Perkins said.

"We flood because we are on an island and you can't get out of the village.

"We don't have sewerage, drainage or footpaths.

"We have to go to Grafton or Maclean to do any shopping and we have to travel on 'that' highway.

"We estimate the change would mean a $16 a week increase.

"They (valuation assessors) compared Brushgrove with Ashby because it's a rural setting.

"But in Ashby it's quiet. Here the highway noise is atrocious. We have to shut all the back of the house at night."

"Having a big value (on your property) only works if you buy and sell quickly, but we are going to die here."

Neighbours John and Julia Beal said if the proposals were adopted, they would be paying the same rates as they had in inner city Brisbane, but without any of the services.

They had previously organised a petition to the Valuer Generals Department appealing against the land valuations, but after being advised petitions were not suitable, arranged for residents to send individual objections.

Those objections were lodged in March. They have received a response saying the valuations are being reviewed, but no final reassessment.

The council has also provided all Clarence residents with the opportunity to object to the proposals.



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