On 4th of December at the “Crisis Media Centre. Kherson” the round table on topic “Discussion of civil society’s suggestions for Kherson city budget” has been held. The discussion was organized as open meeting of the Budget Committee under Mayor of Kherson. Experts, activists of Public Council and assistants of the members of the council discussed the city budget project and industry programs for 2020.
The main speakers were Oleksandr Moshniagul – head of the Public Council under the Mayor of Kherson and Ievgenia Virlych – head of the Budget Committee of the Public Council. Civil society activists of Kherson, MPs’ assistants, journalists and economists took part in discussion.
Head of the Public Council under the Mayor Oleksandr Moshniagul said that experts will make maximum efforts in order to take the most optimal, efficient and needed budget for the city for the next year.
Expert Volodymyr Molchanov offered to increase the income part of the budget and to prepare the regulative decree about approving a new regulatory monetary valuation of land (Department of Land Use).
“The big corruption risks are laid down in the budget articles on the proceeds from parking of cars that are passing illegally yet and it is unknown how many of them do not reach the budget. The utility service “Service Center” is the least transparent among all in the city, we cannot get full information from them, ” Volodymyr Molchanov said.
Volodymyr Molchanov noted that the twofold increase in the cost of major repairs of roads as a positive step, but the draft budget provided only the total amount without explanation for its distribution on the city roads. Paid road marking costs have been artificially increased 3.5 times. But before repairing the roads, all the heating systems that pass under the roads must be repaired first, otherwise they will simply be dug after repair, and all the costs will “fly into the pipe”.
There is already a number of important points for the 2020 city budget: increase the income from the income tax for private individuals by 60 million, anticipate a possible defeat in the Appeal Court for land valuation, reduce the excessively high costs of compensation for “Electrotrans” for the transport use, increase the price of parkings, etc.
Ievgeniya Virlich added to the budget issues the issue of illegal land allotment for illegal buildings in the middle of the city, among residential buildings. This issue will be brought to the next session and is under public control. The main claim is for the regulation of budgetary decisions, for example, the newly created Agency for Urban Development, the Charter of which has not yet been published, and rumors of “space” funding of this agency demonstrate the absence of transparency and culpability of decision-making.
Ievgenia Virlich underlined the importance of directing publicly to controlling the legality of spending, not just checking the income side of the budget.
The public vision of the Kherson budget was broadly shaped at this roundtable.
The event was part of the “Contemporary Regional Media – a pledge of quality in a media-competent democratic Ukraine” project, which is being implemented by the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the Norwegian Embassy in Kyiv.