Eighty-percent of properties in Freetown to pay Le500,000 or less rates – says mayor

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 June 2020:

Mayor of Freetown – Yvonne Aki Sawyerr on Monday, engaged a cross section of the city’s Krio Community, including the representative Krio Descendants Union, “to address concerns and provide clarification about Freetown City Council’s (FCC) property rates and business license reform,” a council official reported.

During the three hour discussion, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr explained to the group that FCC’s property rates reform is a fundamental change in the basis of valuing properties which resulted in some property rates increasing whilst many others decreased.

She showed data confirming that the annual property rates for 80% of all properties in Freetown will still be Le500,000 or less with the new system, which amounts to about Le42,000 per month that can be paid in monthly instalments.

(Photo: Mayor of Freetown – Yvonne Aki Sawyerr on Monday, engaged a cross section of the city’s Krio Community)

With the property rates system not having been reviewed for decades, FCC has not been able to effectively deliver the services its residents want, from maintenance of our 11 cemeteries to provision of adequate numbers of sanitary inspectors and much more.

Also discussed at the meeting was the need for the council to consider a slightly lower rates band for pensioners and those with “extenuating circumstances”.

The council is currently looking at extending this year’s rate payment due date, and a public notice will be issued shortly.

According to the council, “the meeting was very constructive with those attending confirming that they now have a better understanding of the property rate reform and were supportive of it.”

“FCC will continue to engage all Freetonians to ensure that misconceptions about the new system are clarified. There is an enquiries and appeals desk at FCC, and residents are encouraged to call 078333000, 088333000 or 034333000 if they have any questions or concerns about their property rates or business licenses.”

Writing on social media, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer said she was: “Thrilled to find Freetonians waiting to pay property rates at Freetown City Council this morning! Thanks so much for your commitment. FACT: property rates for 80% of residents are still less than Le500,000 per year, that’s Le42,000 per month to transform Freetown. These payments will allow FCC to improve service delivery and to deliver additional services we simply couldn’t deliver before.

“Property rate demand notices for 2020 are being issued now. PAYMENT IS NOT DUE NOW. Payment is for the year to 31st December 2020. In recognition of the challenges posed by COVID-19, FCC reduced the late payment penalty from last year’s 15% to 5% this year and pushed the payment due date to 30th September 2020. Monthly payments can be made by property rate payers over the course of the year.

“FCC has reformed the Freetown property rate system to make it fairer. Some property rates have gone up, but other property rates have gone down. The property rate reform, like all major system changes, will have teething problems. FCC is actively listening to the concerns of Freetonians and will respond with clarifications and potential adjustments. We can do this together!”

9 Comments

  1. Engaging with cross section of the city’s community Krio is a step in the right direction because they were the original people that were collaborating with the British in spreading western civilization within the whole of the British commonwealth countries in our region. Although most of the Creoles migrated in the 70’s and 80’s under the dictatorship of the APC corrupt government which resulted in the brain drain of our nation, but it now seems that most of them that have been working very hard and successful in the western world should do whatever it takes to work with the mayor and the central government to restore Freetown to its past glory.

    The next move by the mayor should be a meeting with the (if I can borrow the words from stargazer) headmen of the “tribalists that ran away from their dark homes and little villages”, because Freetown is the melting pot of our nation and most the animal, agricultural and mineral products from those little villages are greatly contributing to the development of Freetown and even the “ Palm- Wine” they tapped usually help release the stress level of some Freetownians.

    I hope and pray that our Mayor and the Minister will reach an amicable agreement because even in one of the most powerful city in the world New York the Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Mayor Bill de Blasio had a big policy difference few weeks ago but was finally resolved amicably.

  2. I believed that due to and based on the mass unemployment of our people in mama Salone in general and in Freetown in particular, and the failure of the previous APC govt to honour the findings and report of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission after they came into power in 2007-2018 because it was the work / findings of the previous SLLP led governance. And the abject failure of the previous APC govt to honour the relocation and resettlement finance/provision project, engineered/executed by the late Dr. A. Tejan-Kabbah led SLPP govt, to help the masses displaced by the civil war.

    And the previous SLPP government made the necessary provisions and funding, for those whose unmoveable/moveable assets/properties etc whre destroyed/burnt down to be reconstructed, to help them resettle to their respective districts and chiefdoms so as to depopulate Freetown/Western Area.

    All these factors also have made it harder for the Freetown City Council to effectively raise the needed revenues/funding on their own, independent of the central government to meet their obligations/commitments in running the day-to-day administrative duties of the Freetown City Council. That is ONE OF THE REASONS/FACTORS why we are having these problems which can be solved consciously/compassionately by all involved. And may God Almighty give us the wisdom, love and compassion to see/solve our problems.

  3. Someone fluent in the Krio language please be kind enough to translate those words for me – What does it mean;” MONKEY NOR DAE LEF E BLACK HAN “9lol) And how did Saidu Conteh the ‘Truth Sayer’,the incomparable genius,strangely get involved in all of this?Having a guy like that on my side,that will watch my back vigorously,at all times,no matter what happens,will certainly fill my humble soul with a sense of invincibility,completeness,and joy.

  4. In many progressive and equitable societies today, the rich are made to shoulder the financial responsibility of paying more in property and income taxes; Its the patriotic,and sensible thing to do,in order to help struggling crumbling cities generate sufficient revenues to cater for the needs of all its residents. Why would anyone who is affluent,and prosperous complain of paying a little extra in order to be able to live in a clean,safe,and healthy environment?

  5. Stargazer just like Saidu Conteh once again is trying to drag this noble newspaper to the gutter. Krio proverb says: “ Monkey nor dae lef e black Han”.

  6. Is this Mayor a Commander in Chief of the Sierra Leone Armed forces or a Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in the waiting? This great Mayor of our times is showing true leadership on every front. Be it financial or political. She has the trust and respect of everyone. Look at how people lined up to answer her call to pay their taxes. When a leader is honest, fair, humble and shows leadership, both the leader and the population win. Look at how tough Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyer looks and poses when making a very important point to that delegation. What an extraordinary show of audience and directive power. Yeah.

    Finally, I would like to advise the mayor not to slack about the use of the face mask. I believe, she was thinking about the recently announced lockdown ease for not telling some members of the delegation to put on their masks, before entering the meeting or taking the group photograph with her. She did not have her mask on when making that powerful point to her audience. We should all follow the good examples shown by President Julius Maada Bio. God bless our very determined and progressive Mayor of Freetown, Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyer.

  7. What about the remaining 15% of the population? What taxes will they be paying? What criterion has put them apart from the 85% of the population, as far as taxes are concerned?

    • FCC is only addressing property taxes here Ms. Patricia; so that means if you are one of those with a 15 bedroom mansion, you will be paying more compare to 80% of the population who have houses of lesser value.

  8. I just cannot understand why anyone would refuse to embrace the new property rates the Mayor is proposing. Freetown needs a major facelift, and that can only happen folks, if Madam Sawyer is able to generate additional revenues from this new exercise. Listen, most of these SLPP leaders now in power were never born or raised anywhere near Freetown, so they don’t care whether the city crumbles to dust or deteriorates into rubble – When push comes to shove, these tribalists know they will always be able to run quickly back home to their dark, little villages and find rest and contentment from their overflowing jugs of fresh Palm-wine. (lol)

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