A council employee stated that owners should expect increases in their rates every six months with the clear implication that the increases were just a matter of course that everyone should just accept.
The latest rate notice includes a City Transport charge of $58.50. However, many owners are questioning exactly what benefits there are for them with the Transport charge.
Patricia of Mudgeeraba sent me an email after receiving the latest notice. She states "The City Transport charge is supposed to be for "improvements" to the transport system on the Gold Coast but bus services in Mudgeeraba have actually decreased and there certainly has not been any improvement. The light rail system might be of some benefit to those who live around the Surfers Paradise area but it is no use to those who will never use it."
Patricia went on to say "It also seems unfair that only rate payers have to pay for the so called improved transport. What about people who live on the Gold Coast who don't own property? They still use the light rail but they don't contribute anything".
Patricia is not alone in her concern about the Rate increase. Another owner in Palm Beach quoted his costs. "I pay $1250.00 approx. in council rates and when you add Body Corporate Levies and Water rates to the costs, it is getting to the stage where I would be better of being a renter rather than owning my property".
Better off renting than owning?? Well, you only need to do some basic arithmetic to work out that this is true in many cases. Surely the Gold Coast City Council does not want to encourage that scenario for owners.
There is no doubt that these are genuine concerns. Water Rates will soon be issued quarterly and the cynics amongst us are expecting continuing subtle increases that will supposedly have less impact than if the bills were issued half yearly.
Mayor Tom Tate has repeatedly said that the increases are small and they are seen as a contribution to improving services but he does not appear to understand that many owners cannot continue to absorb Council Rate increases. The fact is that many owners are considering leaving the Gold Coast altogether because of the constant increases.
Mayor Tate needs to consider that when taken on a cumulative basis, the increases are not small at all. In some cases, Gold Coast Council Rates have doubled in the last ten years.
Investors are also finding things tough. Rents do not cover the increases and, in some cases, rents have actually dropped because of the over supply of rental properties on the Gold Coast.
Like most Bureaucratic organisations, there is no doubt that the Gold Coast City Council could be a lot leaner but I wonder if Mayor Tate is making any attempts at all to cut costs and actually reduce Council and Water Rates.
Recent reports indicate that the current Council would be voted out if an election was held now. Well, one way that they could improve their position would be to make a committed attempt to reduce the costs of owning property on the Gold Coast.
What can you do about Gold Coast Council Rates rises?If you live in a Body Corporate Community, I would encourage you to contact your Committee and urge them to write to the Gold Coast City Council on behalf of the Body Corporate requesting the Council to focus on reducing costs and Council and Water Rates.
If you are concerned about Gold Coast Council Rate rises send me an email.
Footnote:I sent the following questions to the Gold Coast City Council for their comment but have yet to receive a response.
- Why specifically, have the current Council Rates increased?
- A Gold Coast Council employee advised that it was likely that there would be rises every six months. Is this correct?
- Is there any possibility that Council Rates might decrease in the next six months?
- Is the Mayor and Council aware that many owners of Units on the Gold Coast are being forced to consider leaving their homes because of rising Body Corporate fees and Council and Water Rates?
- Is the Mayor and Council aware that investors are finding that rents are not sufficient to cover the increases in Council Rates and Body Corporate fees?