Cities of oblast significance in Lviv Oblast: which will become the first AH?

By Taras Baranetskyi, decentralisation adviser of the Lviv Local Government Development Centre, for “Dyvys’ info

On 3 April 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the draft law No 6466 as a whole, allowing rural and urban hromadas to join the cities of oblast significance under a simplified procedure.

187 cities have the status of the city of oblast significance, and only 3 of them have established amalgamated hromadas, namely Balta and Bilyayivka of the Odesa Oblast, as well as Lyman of the Donetsk Oblast. Cities of oblast significance are centres of economic and social activity, have the appropriate (transport, educational, healthcare) infrastructure in order to become centres of truly capable AHs.

During 2015-2017, the Central Electoral Commission 10 times refused cities of oblast significance in the appointment of the first elections. The reason is rather banal one – the lack of legal grounds for the appointment of the first elections due to the entry of the AH territory into several administrative units.

The Lviv Oblast is no exception. Not a single city out of 9 cities of oblast significance has established an AH. Novyi Rozdil city was the closest to reach AH formation last year, but the process stopped at the stage of final decisions of local councils.

The situation is complicated by the presence of the so-called “matryoshkas”, when one or several local self-government bodies are part of the city council of the city of oblast significance.

Instead of conclusions

  1. After the recent changes to the Perspective Plan (in the part of the Sokal Rayon), all the cities of oblast significance in the Lviv Oblast were given the opportunity to form AHs, except Stryi city, which for some reason is not interested in the expansion.
  2. Even a shallow analysis of the areas adjacent to the cities shows that economy and infrastructure will benefit from accession of the surrounding villages and their inhabitants. The model I live in the countryside while working in the city is effective and tested in many developed countries. But in order for it to be balanced, the village and the city should be one municipality. Otherwise, a higher level of services in the city will encourage young families to move there. This migration increases the burden on urban infrastructure (kindergartens, roads, healthcare) and increases the cost of its maintenance.
  3. Participation in large investment projects, as a rule, involves allocation of land plots, which simply can not be present within the city boundaries. However, the cities have infrastructure and skilled workers (still have). It is exactly the presence of these three factors – land, infrastructure and human resources – that will enable the future urban AHs to become an active player in the global investment market and provide economic growth ...

The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE

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