'My college lease went up 3700%': How one business's bill soared beyond $150,000

WHEN Mark Johnson made the decision to build a new office building and workshop for Johnsons Trucks on his college lease land at the corner of Benetook Avenue and Fourteenth Street, he did so with a 25-year budget in mind.

He took his annual lease payment of $3100 and council rates of a similar amount, then accounted for steady rises over time.

It seemed to add up - Mr Johnson felt he could build on the block, which had been in use as a vineyard, and the outcome would be comparable to with a freehold property.

So he charged ahead, working with solicitors, getting zoning changed and building a state-of-the-art facility.

Then, one day in October 2008 after works were complete, a letter arrived.

Mr Johnson was informed his lease payment had been reviewed and he would have to pay a new rate.

The cost would be $150,000, plus GST, per year.

"It was gut-wrenching," Mr Johnson said.

"I've never felt like that in my whole life."

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