Rates hike sickening
PEREGIAN pensioner Andrew Michael feels surrounded in council rates debt, and it's causing him severe chest pain, high blood pressure and a concerning heart tremor.
The 87-year-old has become the human face of Sunshine Coast Council's repeated rate increases after his half-yearly bill jumped almost 12%.
The unexpected $101 increase every six months has affected the pensioner in such a way that he has had to make daily doctor's appointments.
Mr Michael said the stress was caused from fear that he could be forced out of his beloved home because he could not afford to pay the rates.
"I am only a pensioner. I have no other income," Mr Michael said.
"I am here because I love this place. I want to die in Peregian Beach, but the way things are going, I just cannot afford it any more."
Since moving into the top floor of the two-storey unit in 2000, Mr Michael has watched the rates go up and up.
He said his half-yearly bill had increased from $331 in 2005 to $810 this year, climbing an average of $70 a year.
The bill took another major leap this year while his pensioner discount dropped, adding an extra $100 every six months and essentially leaving Mr Michael $200 worse off a year.
"To the council money is just numbers. They don't look at the individual and know how much it is going to affect them," Mr Michael said. "The mayor said I would have to go without a cup of coffee a week. Well, I can assure him that I will go without a lot more than that."
A council spokesperson said Mr Michael's rate increase was calculated from the value of land, as determined by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
According to the spokesperson, land valuations had generally decreased by 4.7% across the region.
"People whose valuation did not change were among the best performing properties in the region, so they were subject to an overall increase in their general rates greater than the average," the spokesperson said.
TRACKING THE RISE
2005 - $331
2006 - $509
2007 - $448
2008 - $493
2009 - $605
2010 - $634
2011 - $727
2012 - $810