OWNERS of a small business in Nowra have been left dumbstruck after being told they will be hit with a 43.8 per cent rates increase.
The Marriott Park Motel on the Princes Highway received a letter from the Shoalhaven City Council stating there had been a change in the street’s zoning and it will now be included in the Nowra CBD rate category.
Vicki Lovering, who operates the motel with her husband David, said the letter she received about a week ago did not state the changes to zoning would cause a rise in their businesses rates.
“It wasn’t until my husband called that they said there would be an increase of approximately 43.8 per cent.
“If we hadn’t phoned we would have never known until we received the bill…it’s not a good thing for them to do,” said Mrs Lovering.
As a result, the motel will have to pay an extra $1200 a year, forcing the Loverings to cut costs in other areas of their business such as advertising.
“We are a small business and it comes down to the dollar.
“We have budgets and were looking into advertising for the winter period but we may not be able to do it now,” Mrs Lovering said.
Shoalhaven City Council director of finance and corporate services Peter Dun said Nowra CBD businesses received extra services including higher maintenance and promotion to which council contributes $160,000 to per year.
“Council wrote to business properties … to say we put you inside the rating area and have 30 days to make an appeal.
“It’s a matter for council to decide – do we want to change what is the Nowra CBD?” said Mr Dun.
Mr Dun said there were other businesses in the same situation as the Marriott Park Motel including Nowra Fresh Fish & Meat Market and Nowra Farmers Market off Moss Street and North Street.
Mrs Lovering said the rate increase might have been feasible if the business reaped the advantages of being in the CBD.
“Lighting and security certainly doesn’t filter down to here and I’ll be interested to see what [council] puts towards tourism,” said Mrs Lovering.
Owners of residential homes in the Shoalhaven are awaiting a decision from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal on whether they will face an 8 per cent rate increase from July.