Omaruru owners challenge ‘ridiculous’ assessment roll

Owners of PROPERTY in Omaruru dispute the reasoning of the municipality behind its proposed adjustment of the assessment roll between 200% and 800%.

Protesting the figures offered yesterday, Omaruru Residents Association chairwoman Frikkie Engels said: ‘There is no way to justify this.

Assessment rolls are revised every five years – once physically and the next estimated time. Physical appraisals are carried out by tender and appointment of a certified appraiser.

The last estimated appraisal was done in 2015 and a physical appraisal was due in 2020. An appraiser was appointed but then Covid-19 hit which delayed the process. It wasn’t until the end of last year that the evaluator was able to start working, and he didn’t complete the process until the beginning of this month.

The municipality has published a notice indicating that the assessment roll can be viewed at its offices and that objections can be submitted before October 6 (21 days from the notice), after which the assessment tribunal will sit on October 17. The date has been pushed back a week, however, and it could still be pushed back.

English said after inspecting the roll, residents were told property taxes would rise between 200% and 800%. For example, a property that is taxed at around N$2,200 per month (or N$26,000 per year) would now be taxed at N$9,700 per month (or N$96,000 per year), or more than 400% of an increase.

Another concern was a council notice “which supersedes all other published notices” stating that the deadline for objections had been moved to October 13 and the assessment tribunal session was set for November 1.

According to English, the wrong objection forms were also made available, while there were no clear instructions as to where objections should be submitted.

The association told the municipality to address their concerns or they would consider legal action.

“We need to know from the assessor and the municipality what methods were used and the reasoning behind these ridiculous increases, which most residents will not be able to afford, especially since the city is already in debt by 50 million. Namibian dollars. How are people supposed to afford such extra increases? asked the English.

Omaruru Mayor Vincent Kahua said the council was aware of the concerns and explained the assessment was ‘a bit out of date’ – two years after it should have been done (due to Covid-19) . He said the discrepancy around the big increases was because the assessment roll was completed after the municipality already submitted its revised budget and tariffs for 2022/2023 in July, which were published in the Journal. official.

According to Kahua, the overall increase was around 217%, but agreed that was “too high”. He explained, however, that when the assessor completed the assessment roll, the value of the infrastructure had improved considerably since 2015, resulting in a drastic increase in the valuation of the infrastructure (based on the new tariffs of the 1st July).

“We are in the process of revising the tariffs and we will resubmit them to the line ministry,” he noted, adding that a series of meetings with the management committee, assessor and residents have been scheduled. to address their concerns.

Other issues that were brought to council’s attention were that some properties, which have infrastructure, are shown as vacant on the new roll, while the names of the owners listed on the roll differ from the names of the current owners. There are also discrepancies regarding addresses.

Another problem was that the 21 days allowed for objections included weekends and holidays, which Kahua says is wrong. It should only include working days.

Because of all these discrepancies, a notice would have to be reissued, extending the objection period and moving the assessment tribunal to a later date.

He said a period after objections would also be allowed for counsel to deal with any valid objections before going to court.

“Residents just have to be patient as the issues are resolved,” the mayor said.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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