We’ve felt there has finally appeared local self-government in Ukraine – Nila Ostrovska, head of the Krasylivska amalgamated hromada in Khmelnytskyi Oblast
When the decentralisation reform began, Nila Ostrovska headed the rayon state administration. However, instead of slowing down the amalgamation processes, she led them – and after two years of struggle, a successful and prosperous Krasylivska urban amalgamated hromada appeared on the map of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast.
Nila Ostrovska told about her personal choice and hromada’s way to success within the UCMC-DOBRE “Speakers of Hromadas” project.
How RSA head formed an amalgamated hromada
One of the first leading posts of Nila Ostrovska in the city council was the deputy mayor position.
“It was a turning point for me. I realised that most people support the course of change. Then everything became easier. I decided I should chase my dream – just do good things for people.”
Then Nila Ostrovska worked 5 years as Krasylivka mayor – the time when the hromada was learning to look for opportunities, if there were very few own resources. After that, Nila Ostrovska headed the rayon state administration. However, the hromada failed to go to elections with the first AH.
“I have always enjoyed working in elected positions: where there is people’s trust. If people trust me, so I am in the right place, I am entitled to make decisions and move forward. When decentralisation reform began, my task (as the head of the RSA) was to form an amalgamated hromada. I could see how much the state was ready to delegate powers with resources. And it would be a crime against my hromada not to take advantage of this. I'm sorry that we for some reason didn't manage to amalgamate right away. We struggled for two years and finally held election in 2017. I saw what tremendous opportunities we had lost over the two years. Neighbouring AHs had more than 20 million for infrastructure development annually. In total, we have lost almost 50 million.”
“We are gradually moving towards plans that we could not have dreamed of before”
6 village councils immediately joined the Krasylivska city council, and one more joined in a year. Today, more than 25,000 people live in the AH. The hromada works with a reverse of 1.2% - part of the budget is returned to the state to support less wealthy AHs.
According to Nila Ostrovska, with decentralisation the sidewalks began to be repaired faster, there appeared an opportunity to set up lighting. They even managed to purchase buses that solved the problem of public transport in the city.
Cooperation between local government and business
The tax base of the AH is made mainly by industrial enterprises, which provide jobs. For example, about 700 people are employed at Ukroboronprom’s engineering plant. The AH also has a sugar-mill and machine-building factory, Obolon enterprise, and the foreign Filtron plant.
The city authorities also implement the business promoting policy for existing enterprises. The AH has the powers to monitor compliance with salary payment terms, and an inspector’s position.
Understanding the importance of open cooperation with business, Nila Ostrovska plans to launch separate reporting to entrepreneurs.
“These are all simple things, but they are very much needed by our people”
Due to amalgamation, the transfer of taxes to the ground, the Krasilivska AH has become capable and successful. Now, considerable attention is being paid to rural areas that were not able to repair even a small part of a school roof. Now roads are being built in villages.
The Krasylivska hromada is fulfilling its long-held dream – a rehabilitation centre with a swimming pool.
Gradually, the AH began to refresh and develop, as it only now received the funds for it.
However, hromada’s powers extend not to all changes, as the primary healthcare unit is still in the rayon hands.
Nila Ostrovska says that they no longer need to persuade people to access, since they themselves see how successful are those who have ventured into amalgamation.
“Now the real cases speak for themselves. It is no longer necessary to say: “let’s amalgamate, and it will be like this”. These one and a half years show that real changes are taking place in villages. We are making the changes that people expect,” sums up Nila Ostrovska, head of the Krasylivska AH.
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