Almost identical in territory, Mykolayivska and Ukrayinska amalgamated hromadas in the Petropavlivka Rayon are quite different in terms of the number of residents: the population of the Mykolayivska AH is 6456 people, while the Ukrayinska AH has 2672 residents. Budgets also differ by more than thrice.
Hromadas’ similarity is probably only in their belief in decentralisation, since only 5 of the 13 village councils of the Petropavlivka Rayon have found the only way to change the lives of peasants for the better.
After a long and painful discussion the Mykolayivska AH was formed on 28 March 2017 and includes 10 villages. Viktor Odoyevtsev was elected as the AH head.
Village council team of the Mykolayivska AH
Elections in the Ukrayinska hromada took place on 24 December 2017: Oleksandr Novak was elected to chair the hromada. The AH is formed by 7 settlements.
Hromadas were given additional budgetary powers and stable revenue sources for their implementation.
Centre of the Mykolayivska AH
In 2018, the budget of the Mykolayivska AH amounted to over UAH 83 million, together with the state subvention of almost UAH 25 million for the development of healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc.
As planned, the AH receives more than UAH 58 million of its own funds.
The budget of the Ukrayinska hromada turned out to be smaller – UAH 24 million.
Oleksandr Novak, head of the Ukrayinska AH
The hromada found a solution to increase its own budget.
“We started a self-sufficient life with a land tax increase. Hromada residents accepted that requirement with understanding,” explains Oleksandr Novak.
Ukrayinske village council
Hromadas received part of the infrastructure. The Mykolayivska AH took over three schools, six healthcare institutions (rural health posts, outpatient clinics), culture clubs.
By law, the Mykolayivska hromada pays the reverse grant to the state, which is almost UAH 9 million.
First-grade pupils of the Mykolayivka hub school
The teachers felt no inconvenience while moving from the rayon educational department to the Mykolayivska AH’s one. They were paid salaries, vacation allowance on a timely basis, since the hromada in advance took care of paying out money from the local budget anticipating delays in provision of the educational subvention. Young professionals even received a 10 percent surplus to their salaries.
Schools of the Mykolayivska AH were the only in the rayon to fully equip the first-grade classrooms of the New Ukrainian School with technical equipment and furniture by 1 September.
The Ukrayinska hromada is in charge of the Novoselivka secondary school and Troyitske educational complex, one kindergarten, two cultural centres, two libraries, two outpatient clinics in the villages of Troyitske and Novoselivka, rural health posts operate in Veremiyivka and Marianka.
Establishment of a hub school is being actively discussed in the Ukrayinska AH.
The Mykolayivska AH has been formed for a bit more than a year, but there is already something to share. The hromada budget allowed for rapid development. The village council premises host the ASC equipped with a newly purchased station for the processing and issuance of biometric passports. The service is also used by the residents of the rayon.
Significant positive changes were experienced in healthcare sector. Schools and kindergartens are being fully renovated.
Major repairs of the Vasylkivka kindergarten
The Mykolayivska AH set up landscaping works: they repair the drainage system in communal houses, which did not work for decades, arranged water supply (attracted investments), created a utility company and purchased equipment.
Katerynivka and Maryinka residents will have centralised water supply
Another situation is observed in the Ukrayinska AH. They received the promised powers from the state and began to plan the future.
In 2018, the hromada experienced a budget deficit and even received a basic subsidy of UAH 1.7 million. This money was spent on street lighting. The infrastructure subvention of UAH 2.2 million was used to repair the road in the Troyitske village (UAH 1.5 million), and reconstruction of the Glory Memorial in the Ukrayinske village.
Glory Memorial (Ukrayinske village)
In 2019 the hromada will not get the basic subsidy, but it will have UAH 2.1 million hryvnias of infrastructure subvention. They are planned to be spent on major repairs of the road in the Ukrayinske village and replacement of windows in the Troyitske educational complex.
Young specialists are the greatest achievement of the Mykolayivska AH.
The hromada is successfully developing culture and tourism.
Tetiana and Denys Simshaha
The village of Petrivka received the second breath as well. A young couple of Denys and Tetiana Simshaha work in the Petrivka cultural centre. Young people came to Mykolayivka from the Donetsk Oblast having accepted an invitation to work in the field of culture.
The settled in the hromada and opened interest clubs for children.
The largest Coat of Arms of Ukraine located in the Mykolayivska hromada
For a year of “free sailing”, the Mykolayivska AH managed to even set up its own record: the metal Coat of Arms of Ukraine was installed at the highest point in the hromada, and the record was registered in the book of records of Ukraine.
“Prysamarya Flower” Festival
A large-scale artistic interregional festival “Prysamarya Flower” was held twice in Mykolayivka, and gathered a thousand participants of vocal and dance groups arrived and almost as many guests.
Family doctor Alina Horodenko
The Ukrayinska hromada is also replenished with young people. The staff of the outpatient clinic of the Ukrayinske village was glad to meet family doctor Alina Horodenko. Now the residents have their own family doctor and do not need to go to a rayon hospital for medical services.
In order for the doctor to have more opportunities to help the residents, an analyser will be purchased for the clinic. The doctor also received a housing.
Vasylkivske settlement: ruins of a poultry farm
After two unsuccessful telephone conversations, the AH head Viktor Odoyevtsev strongly refused to provide any public information on the relationship with land users in the Mykolayinska AH. The hromada should probably work well on the transparency and sincerity of the authorities.
Non-inhabited dormitory (Ukrayinska AH)
Oleksandr Novak, head of the Ukrayinska AH, speaks about the complex land relations. He explains: the main revenue to the hromada budget comes from the land tax and personal income tax. But there are plenty of problems. Farmers pay all necessary taxes to the AH budget. It is more difficult with those self-employed.
Vitalii Prokhorov, member of the executive committee of the Ukrayinska AH and director of the company, which processes 2,000 hectares of rented land in the Troitske village council, is also dissatisfied with the situation in the hromada. As a conscious taxpayer he understands that the AH has a good potential for development, but today it is stagnating.
According to Vitalii Prokhorov, it would be possible to resolve this issue by the establishment of a single land tax.
In Troyitske village council
The main road repaired in the Mykolayivska AH
The Mykolayivska AH set a course on investment. They work because they understand that even the budget they own is not enough to build roads and develop the AH. They cooperate with the Dnipropetrovsk Investment Agency and in search of finance identified more than 100 donors to work with.
Institution for children
Now, at the second stage of cooperation with the U-LEAD with Europe Programme they plan to attract at least UAH 20 million for their own projects. The hromada involves local investments.
Oleksandr Solontay, decentralisation expert, assures that budget filling is not a criterion for a successful or unsuccessful hromada. The hromada is made, above all, by people. And the criterion of hromada’s well-being is measured by the way people feel in the AH they live.
It is necessary to start the change on the ground and decentralisation gives all the levers for this.
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