The process of AH formation is always a matter of doubt and concern. Partly these are the myths propagated by politicians or opponents of the reform. One of the common myths of village and city amalgamation is that all the money will “settle” in the city. Another myth states that villages have nothing for cities to be interested to maintain them. With careful study of this issue, myths are not confirmed.
The city of Zhovkva is one of the most famous tourist pearls of Western Ukraine. In recent years, it has advanced in energy, e-governance and local democracy. And in general, Zhovkva can be called a successful city of rayon significance. At the same time, since the start of the decentralisation reform, the city has not made any attempt to form an AH with neighbouring villages. There are few reasons for this. In particular, the format of the Perspective Plan for the Formation of Capable Hromadas, in the opinion of the mayor, did not provide potential AH with territories for strategic spatial development. In addition, village councils that border Zhovkva are usually subsidised, with a problematic infrastructure, which was also a cause for concern.
Therefore, for the sake of debunking the myths it was necessary to choose, for example, a successful urban hromada formed on the basis of the rayon centre, with a tourist orientation and the one that united many surrounding villages.
After a detailed analysis of AHs from neighbouring regions, conducted by the advisers of the Lviv LGDC, the Terebovlyanska urban AH of the Ternopil Oblast was selected as a model for imitation.
In September 2018, the Lviv LGDC of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme together with Ternopil colleagues organised a study visit to representatives of local self-government in the Zhovkva Rayon – to the Terebovlyanska urban AH.
In 2015, the Terebovlyanska hromada was formed of 14 local councils: a city and 25 villages. At the moment of amalgamation most councils were subsidised. Nevertheless, due to efficient management, the AH provides year-to-year revenue growth, makes significant investments in social infrastructure, and implements powerful international projects.
During the meeting, Serhii Poperechnyi, Terebovlya city mayor, said that the hromada united 25 villages, of which only two were profitable, the rest were co-financed from the general budget. Therefore, the funds from the city on the contrary “went” to villages and were spent on service organisation, infrastructure, etc.
Representatives of the Zhovkva Rayon were able to see on a real example the opportunities provided by formation of a large urban AH, get acquainted with budget filling tools, effective areas for optimising social infrastructure, and benefits of strategic hromada planning.
On 26 June, deputies of Zhovkva City Council unanimously supported the initiative of the mayor and initiated the process of AH formation.
We expect that in the nearest future the Zhovkivska urban AH will unite Zhovkva city and 14 village councils of the rayon – namely, 48 settlements with a population of 34 thousand 600 residents on an area of 454 sq km.
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