Velina Zayats, head of the Dunayevetska urban AH of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast, tells about school network optimisation, struggle for hromada ecology, tourism and business development.
By Dmytro Synyak
The Dunayevetska urban AH is one of the largest in Ukraine: almost 700 square km, 39 thousand residents, 51 settlements, 27 starosta districts. Due to this, the AH has a lot of funds: its budget for this year amounts to UAH 258 million, of which own revenues make up UAH 91 million. Since 2015 the AH has been headed by experienced manager Velina Zayats.
The Dunayevetska hromada is one of the few wishing to drastically solve the garbage problem. But it is very expensive, difficult and takes lots of time. Why did you decide to deal with this direction?
- It was not my initiative, but people’s request. To repair roads, we established a communal enterprise and purchased a fleet of vehicles. And in a year and a half, 40 km of hromada roads were repaired. Moreover, we do not do everything at our own expense.
Velina Zayats, head of the Dunayevetska AH
Does the oblast administration repair the roads of your hromada it has received the funds for from the Road Fund?
- Last year we had a good cooperation with the rayon department of Avtodor, having funded only 50% of the cost of streets’ repairs in Dunayivtsi, as well as roads to some villages. The rest was covered by Avtodor. That is, in general, funds are coming from the oblast to repair the roads, and this is a lot of money.
Communal machinery in the Dunayevetska AH
And how is the second important problem, namely the garbage issue, people are concerned about, being settled?
- We have organised a centralised removal of waste to the Dunayivtsi sorting line from more than 20 villages. This line was purchased due to the infrastructure subvention. In addition, we eliminated all fly dumpings... It's our ecology!
Why did you decide to buy the sorting line?
- Because the landfill in Dunayivtsi is not limitless. We have studied the experience of Khmelnytskyi, Lutsk and Zolochiv of the Ternopil Oblast, and subsequently decided to buy a line made in Ukraine. Only in 2016 we invested about UAH 4 million to purchase and modernise this line, as well as for to buy tractors and modern garbage trucks. This year, we have purchased two more conveyor belts and plan to continue investing in upgrading this line.
Waste sorting line in Dunayivtsi
Are all AH problems limited to garbage and roads?
- Of course not. We received almost all AH infrastructure in a very poor state. These are cultural centres, libraries, kindergartens, and outpatient clinics. But step by step, we are restoring them. Last year the know-how was introduced – all village institutions were assembled in a completely renovated cultural centres.
Are the cultural centres suitable for village institutions, which need not so much large halls as small offices?
- During the repair process, we redesign the buildings. And those premises, released due to this mini-reform, are included in the list of facilities for alienation.
ASC in the Dunayevetska AH
You mentioned the room for the police. What do you mean?
- The thing is that the district policeman does not have his workplace in the village. And he needs some premises to carry out interrogations, collect evidence... If a policeman in a village does not have decent working conditions, he will not go to this village. By the way, we pay for policemen’s fuel when they come to us. According to their recommendations, we set up surveillance cameras in villages.
And what about doctors? They, probably, need more than just renovated premises of hospitals: they need housing, office car ...
- The issue of providing everything necessary for the Primary Healthcare Centre is monitored by me on a weekly basis. We have recently allocated UAH 524.5 thousand to purchase computer hardware for the medical personnel.
Is the Dunayevetska AH maintaining secondary link institutions?
- We do not make a big difference between the primary and secondary links, because both work for the health of our people.
Was the AH health network optimised?
- The Central Rayon Hospital is located in the recently renovated premises of the therapeutic building. And the vacant premises were passed on to us. We have agreed with the oblast state administration to place hemodialyser there.
You said that you are surveying people regarding the most acute problems. Do people see these changes in the AH?
- I feel the support of my voters, so I easily go to any settlement. We hold general village meetings, I report, listening to proposals and complaints.
School of the Dunayevetska AH
Usually, small schools are a big problem for AHs. On the one hand, people oppose their closure, and on the other hand, it is extremely expensive to maintain them. How do you solve this question?
- We approach this acute topic very carefully. Before talking about bringing children to a hub school, it's necessary to repair roads, am I right? After all, pupils should feel comfortable during their trip. We have carried out some optimisation of the school network, that is, we have lowered the degrees of two schools, and transferred high-school pupils to city schools.
Is the Dunayevetska AH struggling for various grants?
- Of course! Last year we received UAH 5 million from the State Fund for Regional Development for the repair of the collector treatment facilities.
Does the Dunayevetska urban AH work on tourism development?
- Yes, we do. We consider our hromada as a stop site on the way to Kamyanets-Podilskyi, located only 30 km away. There are more than 100 thousand tourists a year, and we want to make sure they stay in Dunayivtsi.
Are people, who will accept tourists, ready to pay taxes?
- We are constantly discussing this issue, so the number of registered private entrepreneurs in our AH is gradually increasing. The budget revenues also increase. Last year we registered a fruit and berry cooperative, which united 24 people from several villages. Agricultural holding “Mriya”, operating on our territory, has sold the raspberry seedlings to people for UAH 1 per bush, and people planted 15 thousand bushes of raspberries. When the raspberries grow in three years, the hromada budget has to feel it.
Where will the cooperative sell raspberries?
- We must look for customers. In agriculture, supply often creates demand itself.
What is your attitude to the fact that there is still no AH in four rayons of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast?
- AHs need to be formed to develop our country. Today, we support two small villages that do not have the means to meet their own needs. And these villages build bridges, make repairs, because the residents of these villages also deserve high-quality services.
What do you think, why the village and city heads of four rayons of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast do not participate in the reform? In fact, its success is already indisputable...
- A lot depends on village heads, on rayon and oblast councils, on rayon and oblast administrations. Let’s be frank: under the new conditions, the village head loses a lot of powers: he is no longer a king in the village. The position of starosta is different in principle. It is for people who want to work, want to change the life in the village for the better.
Photo of the author and the Dunayevetska AH
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