How to finance schools and settle compensations for housing and communal services
All AHs of the Odesa Oblast, where the first elections took place in 2017, should establish educational departments and assign all the educational institutions to their balance by the next academic year.
Olesya Holynska, the local finance management expert of the Odesa Local Government Development Centre established with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe programme and MinRegion, told about these requirements of the education reform and substantiation of their necessity at the training on 27 November.
The event, held in Odesa and dedicated to the topical issues of local budget planning, was attended by chief accountants, heads of financial departments, and accounting specialists of the oblast hromadas. The topics of the education reform and its financing were of particular interest to the audience.
As it was noted by Olesya Holynska, the AH education management bodies will be in charge of the preparation and organisation of the 2018-2019 academic year. “To do this, you need to start the establishment of the relevant structural units from the 1st of January 2018. Those of your hromadas that have musical schools or aesthetic education schools etc., do not forget that they now belong to the educational network and are planned as a budget educational programme in accordance with the new decree of the Ministry of Finance,” she explained.
It was important to discuss the capability of AHs to assume the powers in order to grant state benefits and assistance, the request on which the hromadas have already received from the Department of Social Protection of the Odesa Oblast State Administration. However, according to the representatives of the amalgamated hromadas, none of them is ready to accept these powers, since they have no appropriate personnel base on the ground, it does not belong to the responsibilities of the primary level of local self-government, and local budgets do not have enough funds for this purpose.
The accountants of the AHs of the Odesa Oblast were concerned about implementation of the program-targeted method and medium-term planning. “A stable work has to be set up on specific programmes and clearly prescribed expenses. It is not right when local councils introduce budget changes at each session. It does not fit the demands of strategic thinking, medium and long term work. At today’s training we were told that soon this situation, we have been living in for already two decades, will change for the better, so we now need to learn to work in new realities as much as possible. Fortunately, these realities coincide with what we have been striving for in the field for many years,” said Kateryna Shalay, head of financial department of the Velyka Mykhaylivka rural settlement council.
Natalia Nikolayenko, head of the financial department of the Bilayivska AH, expressed a general opinion of the participants that there is no financial resource available to local authorities to pay benefits for housing and communal services. At the same time, according to the draft law on the state budget, submitted for the first reading, they are included in the expenditure part of local budgets.
The methodology of compilation of the report on implementation of budget programme passports, in particular regarding the reporting on their performance indicators, was of a special interest for the financiers and accountants, because this year hromadas will make their first report on the evaluation of the effectiveness of budget programmes. “In future, it will become the basis for managerial decision-making on optimisation and reformatting of the list of programmes,” said Olesya Holynska.
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