What will happen to districts covered by united communities – discussion

The districts, the greater part of which is covered by united territorial communities (UTC), will be enlarged. Their powers are transferred to communities, they have no more competencies. Experts have worked out a draft law to solve the issue of district functioning until the administrative-territorial reform is completed. This was stated by Yurii Hanushchak, director of NGO “Institute of territorial development”, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“The draft law on the order of establishing, dissolving, setting and changing the district boundaries delineates such a scheme. If more than half the population joins a UTC and/or the district center joins a UTC, it leads to united districts, because the district cannot exercise its finance, personnel, and infrastructure powers. Deputies of the dissolved district council go to the one they join till the next election. And head of the district becomes deputy head of the united district,” explained Mr. Hanushchak. The draft law also proposes a scheme for setting the district boundaries: along the outer boundary of village, town and city councils. According to Mr. Hanushchak, the number of united districts will not exceed 100. A hearing on the bill will be held at the Verkhovna Rada on May 15.

The problem of districts should be solved as soon as possible. In particular, to ensure a balanced budget for 2018. “Budget-2016 became problematic for districts. Budget-2017 provides for the stabilization money to balance the institutions in districts which are inferior. But this year we will have 400 UTCs and the absolute majority of districts will come apart. We cannot lose time. During the spring session, we should take decisions that will help to balance the budget in 2018 and continue the reform. If we fail, we will face huge problems in the budget process and resistance from the districts,” believes Anatolii Tkachuk, director of science and development issues department of the NGO “Civil Society Institute.”

It is estimated that the maintenance of a state district administration of up to 100 people costs UAH 6 million annually. The district council apparatus costs from UAH 1,2-1,8 million. “This is the cost of water supply system for one village. Communities also lack qualified personnel [who could move from the district level to them],” noted Mr. Tkachuk.