I-rate over increases
A 19% rate increase in just 12 months - that's the shocking reality for Bob Tomlinson.
Bob and his wife Jackie have lived in their Bacon St, Grafton, home for the past 28 years and he has spent much of that time restoring their beloved house.
But home sweet home turned somewhat bitter recently when he received his rate notice.
The document showed Bob's rates had increased from $1968 in 2010 to $2429 this year.
"I have no idea why I'm being slugged an extra $461," Bob said.
The Tomlinson residence is a 720sq m block listed with Clarence Valley Council as 2A and classified as residential. The property next door is classified as commercial.
Making matters even more confusing for Bob is that his land value has increased by just $12,000 in the past three years.
He said records showed the value of his land in 2008 was $138,000. In 2011, that value had increased to $150,000 - an increase of just 12 per cent.
"The difference is that our valuation has increased to $150,000 plus the removal of postponed rates for our property," Bob said.
"In previous years we had $60,000 of our valuation postponed under S585 so last year's rates were based on $78,000. This year's are based on the full $150,000.
"We received no warning of this $461 increase. No explanation, just the rate notice.
"I approached my neighbour across the street and she told me her rates have not increased.
"She is still receiving deductions."
Perplexed, Bob subsequently discovered the Department of Lands had classified his land as having the potential to be subdivided; thereby increasing its value.
Adding a twist to the saga is the fact that the increase in land value doesn't compare to the 19% increase in the rate notice Bob received from CVC.
"If we have to pay rates at this level we will eventually be forced to sell our home," he said.
"If I died, Jackie would have to sell immediately as she is only on a single disability pension and there is no way she could afford $50 a week just for the rates.
"But even if we sold the block and bulldozed the house, there still wouldn't be enough room to build units on it.
"It just isn't logical."
Angered by the increase, Bob went in search of an explanation.
Yesterday he was contacted by a representative of the Valuer-General's Department in Coffs Harbour who identified a number of "anomalies" in his case.
"I was told by a spokesperson at the department that my land had been valued according to its highest use, which meant it would be worth more if a block of units were sitting on it instead of a singular house," he said.
"But there are no units.
"They told me a representative from the Valuer-General Department will come here this afternoon to look at my property. I just want to know why my rates have increased. I want answers and I deserve answers."