The number of newly established amalgamated hromadas is increasing in Ukraine. This is evidenced by the data from MinRegion, prepared on the basis of the information from oblast state administrations. Thus, as of 12 March, 20 AHs are waiting for the Central Electoral Commission's decision to hold the first local elections. 48 hromadas are at different stages of completion of the legal procedures of amalgamation. And 9 local councils decided to join the already existing AHs.
MinRegion reminded that the final step in the formation of an amalgamated hromada is the holding of the first local elections, appointed by the Central Electoral Commission. Besides, the Ministry expressed concern that the CEC appoints such elections only twice a year – in April and October – and is convinced that such an approach impedes the process of establishment and further development of amalgamated hromadas.
“It is clear that the sooner the hromada holds the first local elections on its territory, the more time it will have to qualitatively prepare for the transition to direct interbudgetary relations with the state budget. And this is a great deal of work that until now has been done in a hurry by many hromadas. Let's remind that on 24 December 2017 the first local elections took place in 51 AHs. And by 1 January, they had to be ready to work in a new format. The CEC may and should change this practice,” commented Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services.
The First Deputy Minister mentioned another reason, which in many cases inhibits the process of voluntary amalgamation of hromadas. According to MinRegion, some hromadas wait for months, or even years, for a conclusion of the oblast state administrations on the compliance of their amalgamation decisions with the legislation of Ukraine. And they should have received this conclusion 10 days after the date of sending the necessary package of documents to the OSA.
For example, the Nyzhnyoselyshchenska AH in the Zakarpattya Oblast, has been waiting for a conclusion from the Zakarpattya Oblast State Administration since 2016. The Kurovytska AH in the Lviv Oblast is facing the same situation. On 10 February 2018 one year has passed since the Kholmkivska hromada (Zakarpattya Oblast) addressed the oblast state administration for the relevant conclusion. Two other hromadas in the Zakarpattya Oblast – the Zaluzhanska and Horondivska AHs – have been waiting for the OSA’s conclusion since the autumn of 2017.
The situation in the Kyiv Oblast is not at all better, where the Shkarivska, Tashanska and Kaharlytska AHs have been awaiting the conclusion from the Kyiv Oblast State Administration since the autumn of 2017.
The Chernihiv Oblast State Administration is also in no hurry with the conclusion for the Ozeryanska amalgamated hromada. The AH has been waiting for the document for over two months, instead of 10 days, as stipulated by the law.
Though the Tsyblivska and Bohuslavska amalgamated hromadas in the Kyiv Oblast cannot wait the Oblast State Administration to send an appeal to the Central Electoral Commission for the appointment of the first local elections on their territory. This work had to be carried out by the Kyiv Oblast State Administration in October last year. A similar situation is observed in the Lopatynska AH in the Lviv Oblast, where they have been waiting for the Oblast State Administration to send the documents to the CEC from January.
Vyacheslav Nehoda drew attention to the fact that there are 152 rayons in Ukraine with not a single amalgamated hromada established so far. According to the First Deputy Minister, the task of the oblast and rayon state administrations is to intensify explanatory work on the benefits of hromadas’ amalgamation at the rayon level.
“When people understand the benefits, when they see the examples of how the reform really changes the quality of life in hromadas after amalgamation for the better, then they themselves become supporters of these changes and cultivate them on their territory. Therefore, it is important to reach each rayon, each village, and have a responsible approach to the explanatory work,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
It is worth mentioning that by 1 April the oblast state administration should ensure the development, maintenance, approval and submission of perspective plans for the formation of capable hromadas within the limits of 100% of the territory of the relevant oblast for Government’s approval.
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