OMUTHIYA – The Omuthiya Town Council says it is pinning hopes on government’s recommendations on how to rectify a system error that caused exorbitant tariffs since last year.
Instead of increasing by 20%, council charged residents up to 80% more for rates and taxes. It is now trying to rectify the costly mistake.
Six months since the mistake was detected, council still awaits a decision from the urban and rural development ministry, where it presented the issues, seeking authorisation to amend, rectify and find a way to reimburse the residents.
“I am informed by the finance people that the line ministry has forwarded this matter to be gazetted. Once that is done, [we] will know what the outcome will be. Therefore, I am asking for calm and patience among the residents. We do sympathise and regret the error, but we are working on it,” said acting CEO Simon Nghuulondo when approached for an update.
Residents have in recent weeks complained to New Era that despite having collectively writing a letter to council, petitioning it to rectify or reimburse them, nothing has materialised.
The extraordinary increase was as a result of new property valuation, which came with an exorbitant rate, Nghuulondo told New Era in October last year.
The increase unleashed anguish and frustration among residents, who said they were slapped with adjustments of between N$500 to N$800 and have argued the increment does not equate to the services rendered by council – hence their dismay.
At the time, Nghuulondo had apportioned blame to the finance department for having failed to alert council when they realised the huge difference when they entered property valuations in the system.