Speaking about his work, Oleh Kukh more than once calls his hromada a rayon. And this is not only because he has recently headed the Lyubeshiv Rayon State Administration, but because the Lubeshivska AH occupies 83% of the rayon. It consists of 37 settlements and is the largest hromada in Ukraine.
Oleh Kukh, head of the Lyubeshivska AH
– Since 2014, you had been the head of the Lyubeshiv Rayon State Administration, and subsequently became an oblast council deputy. Why did you decide to give up this work and run for the post of an AH head?
– Progress is forging ahead. I realised that with the decentralisation reform as hromada head I would have much more opportunities to work for the benefit of people. I knew that it would not be easy, in the early days of a new position, it seemed to me that I was in a hot spot.
– Why exactly hot spot?
– There are no similarly large hromadas in Ukraine. For example, there is an 80-km distance from one extreme settlement of our AH to another. Therefore, there was a need to create an effective management system, having no analogues in Ukraine.
– Have you heard others saying that you are overstaffed?
– I have. It is clear that the figure of 140 employees scares. But we have 15 starosta districts, and this is already 40 people, but there are still 21 schools, 25 cultural clubs, health posts, outpatient clinics, kindergartens, libraries. All of them need to be taken care of, so I do not think we are overstaffed.
Oleh Kukh changed the job, but not the office, since both the RSA and settlement council are located in the same building
– Are the villages left outside of the hromada discussing amalgamation with you?
– Absolutely not. There are five village councils left. Three located in one part of the rayon. The other two village councils, according to the plan, are included in the Lyubeshivska AH. They know about it, though they are waiting for a decision from above and do not initiate amalgamation. On the one side, they have Lubeshivska AH, on the other – Belarus, that is, they have no other options.
– Was it necessary to close small schools?
– We don’t have a critical situation with small schools, because we have been optimising educational establishments since 2014. We closed two schools, some schools were extended. Though situation is still not ideal. We have to persuade parents and educators of voluntary consolidation.
– How many schools could be closed?
– We are not talking about closing. We can, for example, leave the youngest schoolchildren in the place in order not to bring them to other schools, and we also need premises for kindergartens.
We began to provide the largest schools with financial autonomy, namely, distributing the remaining balances of the educational subvention. It is clear that full-fledged schools receive more, and unfilled ones – less. For a year or two, the leaders of the latter will understand that it is no longer possible.
Inclusive and Resource Centre was opened in Lubeshiv
– What is your greatest achievement, what are you proud of?
– Roads’ construction is a definite positive shift. We built 4.5 kilometres of road in Sudche village, connecting Volyn with the neighbouring Rivne Oblast. This road was awaited for 30 years.
In 2018, the construction of two roads began in the villages of Derevok and Tsyr.
Besides, street lighting was set up in 31 settlements. It will soon reach all settlements.
– I saw in Facebook that you have utility machinery. What do you need it for?
– Last year, we spent almost all infrastructure subvention – more than UAH 12 million – on it.
From now on the utility enterprise can remove garbage, snow, repair roads, etc. We want it now only to serve the settlement council, but also bring profit.
– Waste sorting is currently a trend. Are you practicing it?
– Containers for separate collection of garbage are installed in several places, a sanitary cleaning scheme was developed. Entrepreneurs take in plastic, glass, paper.
But we have a problem with the landfill. It is critically overfilled. We have a reconstruction project ready, but as at 2016 the cost of the work is almost UAH 15 million. It is very expensive for us. We hope the State Environmental Fund will help us.
UAH 12 million were spent to purchase machinery for the local utility company
– You have recently prepared a development strategy by 2025. What does it envisage?
– This is a long document we worked on for six months.
The plans include, in particular, creation of a participatory budget, coverage of the settlement and villages of the hromada with free Wi-Fi, reconstruction and construction of mini football fields with lighting, arrangement of gyms in cultural institutions, construction of a sports complex in Lubeshiv, creation of tourist routes and expanding the network of eco-pathes over Lyubeshiv Rayon, organisation of city passenger transportation in Lubeshiv.
– What is missing to become completely independent of state subsidies? Is it about business development?
– I would not say that we can be independent of state funding. Our budget totals UAH 207 million, of which our own income is UAH 47 million.
I believe that some territories of Ukraine have no right to be industrialised, not everywhere there is a need for factories, plants, poultry complexes. For example, our wetlands are a valuable complex of the European level.
Perhaps our rayon would have to be financed, among other things, at the expense of the funds provided for Ukraine by the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gases' emissions and atmospheric pollution. If we do not pollute the atmosphere, then we need to get some bonuses.
The stadium was opened here prior to amalgamation
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
Громади:Любешівська селищна об'єднана територіальна громада
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