It is planned to unite six localities in the reforms in the Ekekapils region. Thus, the new municipality will have 10 times more residents than the current Jackapples municipality, and three times fewer municipal deputies than the six surrounding municipalities at present. LTV citizens worry about reform, while experts see benefits.
There are currently 1614 local government deputies in 119 municipalities in Latvia. Instead, it is planned to reduce the number of MPs by more than half in 2021 – to remain around 705. And there will be 36 municipalities. Thus, their number more than three times.
When it comes to reforms, the cities complain that they do not want to share the wealth with the villages, but in the villages they are worried that cities will take everything and stay on the sidelines. These are the concerns expressed about the forthcoming county reform. But what will the reform bring? By selecting a region in Kurzem, Zemgale, Willem and Latgale, LTV in collaboration with the research journal Re: Baltica examined the planned changes.
Three times fewer deputies, 10 times more residents
The fragmentation of the municipalities around eekapaps seems absurd. There are three municipalities at the same time: the Municipality of Crustillas, the Municipality of Jacobspils and the Municipality of Jacobspils. No one knows yet where the new joint municipality will be.
However, the government's plan to merge six sites in the area is known: the current Ekekapplils municipality with the Ekekapplils town, as well as the municipalities of Akniste, Krustils, Hall and Visteet. The current 64 members will be replaced by only 19.
So far, the small ecekapils region is 10 times smaller – only about 4,400 inhabitants.
The territorial development index, which takes into account economic and demographic indicators, places the municipality at 91 out of 119. True, in terms of development dynamics it is commendable, because last year we managed to get out of the group of so-called "lower" municipalities. .
What does the reform for the Eekapaps region say?
At the Daugawa crossing, ferry driver Saulis Strasdys meets drivers from near and far, listening to different thoughts. It is hard for those opposed to the reform: “I think this reform is wrong. Now the center will meet in ekeapaps – all the way to ekeapaps. Here's the meeting – nothing will be left. "
"I don't see any benefit or change there. The way we work and the way we work, ”says beekeeper Gita Lavrinovic.
Last year the owner of the bee was recognized as the best beekeeper in the country. He lives on the border of Ekekapils County with the city, learned to handle everything alone, without a municipality. "Even in winter, we have our equipment to clean our roads. Although it is small here, we often clean our tractor, ”says Lavrinovic.
But it is not possible to deal with those who live further away. The asphalt ends and the jog between the Danube and the Ekekapplils about 40km is a test already in the summer.
Farmer and local deputy Reinis Balodis manages 750 acres. According to him, many others were not there for the sake of the road: "There were some Mohicans who, say, live here and travel to the city from day to day to work. Then at one point he realizes that it takes too much energy, work, time and he is just starting to rent somewhere in the city or move to the city. "
The small municipality failed to stop it. But they fear that those living on the outskirts of the new big county will become even more marginal, as the majority of people in the city will vote. "I had high hopes that it wouldn't, but I suppose it would only happen that those distant corners of the field would simply remain larger fields. And people in the city just won't be interested in what's within a 40-50 km radius of that city, ”says Balodis.
The county is empty
Indeed, the municipality of ekekapapil stands out throughout Zemgale because it is the fastest emptying of the population. It is projected that in the first 30 years of this century (forecast to 2030) the county will lose half its population. And trying to prevent it is just like the fight against wind.
"If we look at any forecast for global development, people will increasingly live in centers. We should not fight this trend, we need to understand how we can work within this trend. And this merger addresses it to some extent. This means there are strong centers for economic development and there are areas where these centers work, ”says Gundars Berzins, a professor, dean of the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics at the University of Latvia.
"It would be ideal if the essence of the business was really formed into eco-friendly.
More would be done in ekkapaps related to industrial or some IT services, or other such construction, such as transport services, construction. These companies would develop more in the ekekapils industrial area, but at the same time they would maintain the rational and normal living space in their current places of residence in the ekekapils region, "said Andris Miglavs, a doctor of economics.
For example, can reform savings be invested in road improvements? Neither the ministry nor the experts have estimates of specific municipalities where, and at what cost, for example, through redundancies, fewer buildings or joint procurement. But approaching different projections, the first most visible could be a savings of about 6% of the budget for the area or € 93 per capita.
If that happens, it seems that the extra money in the current small eco-region will double the amount the municipality has so far managed to allocate to the highways.
Of course, the decision on how to spend the money will have to be made by the new municipality of the big county.
Administrative-territorial reform is one of the priorities of the Karin government ("New Unity"). In March, Saeima approved the continuation of reforms.
Administrative-territorial reform plans to reduce the number of municipalities from 119 to 35, though their functions will not change. However, VARAM chose to create a new county in Ulbrook. The reform will thus have 36 districts. Municipalities will be formed around major cities and development centers, but without rural areas there will be only Riga and Jurmala. Such ideas are included in the reform proposal drafted by the M MESPR, which has been the subject of public consultation in the regions.
Saima's decision to pursue reform envisions the establishment of economically developed administrative territories by 2021 with local governments that can provide autonomous law functions that are comparable in quality and accessibility, providing quality services to residents at a reasonable cost.