Mounds of rotting garbage, water shortages, clogged drainages, and dead street lights are common features in this tourist city. The reason for this is corruption in the council that has been manifested in nepotism, cronyism, and bribe-taking.
What the council should do first is commission an independent audit of its current workforce.
The audit should examine the qualifications of various managers and lower cadre staff to weed out those who got onto the payroll through dubious means.
It would also expose the so-called ‘ghost workers’ — individuals who continue to draw salaries even though they have long since left the council through death, retirement or sackings.
In addition, the auditors should establish possible areas for tapping new revenue so that the council does not squeeze the same ratepayers for extra cash.
Indeed, if the audit establishes that rates must go up, it should set a cap and also identify how the increased revenue can best be used to ensure proper and equitable delivery of services.
With the country moving towards county governments, the temptation to raise property rates will be high, but it carries many risks. Among them is the likelihood that potential investors would look elsewhere if they feel the value of services offered do not match the rates paid.
The trend in international best practice for urban management is to boost efficiency, not fatten the wage bill.