Taxpayers in Nakuru have been paying irregular and exorbitant land rates to the county administration, the county assembly has revealed.
The Assembly’s Committee on Lands, Housing and Physical Planning yesterday exposed, in a report, how landowners had been paying the rates based on an old and obsolete valuation roll.
The committee revealed that the county government had not updated its valuation roll, leading to the unlawful and illegal rates.
“The rates subjected to Nakuru Municipality Block 3 owners were unlawful. They also lacked a clear legislation on valuation and rating to guide them,” said Committee Chairman Stephen Ngethe.
Mr Ngethe explained that the county’s last valuation roll, which assigns a value to all properties in an area in order to charge land rates on an equitable basis, was last reviewed in 2005.
The defunct municipalities used to review the valuation roll after every 10 years, but the county government, in its “Valuation Bill 2017”, reduced the period to five years.
The committee observed that despite absence of a legal review on the valuation roll over the years, the rates kept varying and alarmingly shot up in 2011.
Apart from the exorbitant levies, the committee members were also concerned by the glaring discrepancies on rates charged on different commercial plots which are of the same size and in the same block.
The MCAs said when the County Executive Member for Lands, Housing and Physical Planning was questioned, he could not explain why the discrepancies existed, and why the outdated 2005 valuation roll was still in use.
The committee embarked on compiling the report after being petitioned by a section of landowners from Shabab Ward.
The petitioners said as a result of the unlawful charges, they had been unable to pay their annual rates as required by law, and hence accrued hefty penalties.
This exposed them to the risk of losing property to the county government.
They said every year the county government had been announcing waivers on penalties charged for defaulted land rates but still many could not pay the exorbitant amounts.