By Patrick Beja
Mombasa property owners will soon have to dig deeper into their pockets as the cash-strapped municipal council seeks to raise property rates.
Town Clerk Tubman Otieno announced that the council intends to increase property rates to raise money to double its work force to 5,000. He said they plan to hire low-cadre workers to clean the town.
This is despite the council facing a budget deficit of Sh441 million, and being indebted to the tune of Sh2 billion.
“At the moment we require a minimum of 3,500 but 5,000 would be ideal for the council operations. We require workers in Changamwe, Likoni and Kisauni,” said Mr Otieno.
He spoke during a news conference at his office on Monday a few days after the council unveiled its budget that showed a huge deficit.
According to Otieno, they will auction the properties of rate payers who have continued to default over the years.
“The council valuation roll has not been reviewed since 1991 and there is a big disparity in the rates. We are going to raise the rates and sell the property of defaulters,” he said.
Otieno said the council has expanded the revenue base but attempts to implement various levy have resulted in ongoing court cases.
In the council budget read to the public by finance committee chairman Mr Mohamed Hatimy, the local authority intends to raise Sh3.2 billion and expend Sh3.6 billion.
This means that the council would have to grapple with a deficit of Sh441 million.