Rates rise, values drop
NEW Cairns Regional Council half-yearly rates notices have been received across the Douglas region this week and many will have contained an unpleasant surprise for property owners.
Although rates were expected to have risen only modestly, this was mainly due to a decline in land values as a result of government valuations released in early May.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management figures revealed major drops in land valuations of coastal areas, the highest a decrease of up to 26 per cent in Newell Beach.
Port Douglas, Mowbray and Cooya Beach were also hit with drops of up to 20 per cent, although some rural values increased by around 10 per cent.
DERM advised at the time that all homeowners would receive written notification of their new valuation, however many people were yet to see the actual figures.
One frustrated Wonga Beach property owner described it as a “lose-lose” situation - not only had his land been devalued by $50,000 but he received no reprieve in the form of lower rates.
“I wanted to sell and it was a disappointment because it gave the buyer a bit of leverage to talk me down,” he said.
Acting council CEO Bruce Gardiner said ratepayers who had not received their copy by the end of this week should contact council.
Mr Gardiner said 2011 has been a difficult year for home owners and urged anyone having difficulty paying their rates to contact council to discuss a payment plan. Rates payments are due by August 29 with overdue accounts being charged interest at 11 per cent per annum.