De-Centralization Boosts Local Budgets | Special from Toronto
Amalgamated communities show their growth and successes
Before, Ukraine’s Bashtanka District had a budget of about $390,000. Since the creation of the ‘amalgamated’ community, where government is organized and empowered at the local level, the available budget has increased by about 10 times, one official said.
“The process of community consolidation was difficult because people did not believe that a community could be established on the city council basis and that the money would remain on the local’s budget. However, we succeeded in convincing them, and the community agreed to unite,” the head of the Bashtanska amalgamated community Ivan Rubsky said at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, Canada.
Rubsky said that Bashtanka is a unique community because its administrative system began working in the early 2000’s. Since then, local officials have used their budget to construct buildings for public institutions: tax, police, the pension fund, and social security institutions.
Now they plan to build an administrative center. The community also hopes to invest in locals’ social needs by restoring the kindergartens, schools, and cultural buildings.
“We want to make Bashtanka a sports city. For us, healthy children are important so that they learn to swim in safe swimming pools. Therefore, we are building a modern outdoor swimming pool in the stadium,” Rubsky said.
The funds for large infrastructure projects are implemented by the community with the support of the investment programs “Dobre” and German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and also with the help of state investment funds.
To continue to invest in infrastructure and community development, the amalgamated community plans to organise businesses and production facilities.
“Our future plan to create an industrial park. After all, you need to create jobs in order to have a stable income. It will also stop the outflow of youth from the village,” Rubsky said.