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The Managing Board adopted the new Systematized positions of ZELS
8 јуни 2018
 In the premises of the administrative building of ZELS, on May 31st, 2018, the Managing Board of ZELS held its fifth session. The participants discussed the items on the agenda, which referred to current issues with local significance, but special attention was paid to the consideration of the draft systematized positions of ZELS. It is a list of proposals and requests, which should represent the starting point of ZELS in the negotiations with the central government, with aim to improve the situation in the municipalities and the development of the decentralization process in the country. The session was attended by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who asked for greater efficiency from municipalities in implementing the new Law on Reporting and Registration of Commitments. It was also discussed the initiative submitted by the Municipality of Tetovo, which refers to the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Games of Chance. The present members of the Managing Board of ZELS discussed on many other local government challenges, including: the application of the Law on Treatment of Illegally Constructed Objects, the regulation of the traffic regime and parking areas, the condition of stray dogs, the long process of adopting the detailed urban plans and others.


Active
participation of municipalities in the implementation of the new Law on reporting and recording obligations

State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Elena Trpkovska, pointed out that the new Law on Reporting and Registration of Obligations will secure transparency and strengthening of the accountability when disposing public funds, through total recording of undertaken, matured and unpaid liabilities in an appropriate electronic system, by all organs of the state government, public institutions, as well as the local self-government units and institutions. This will enable a unified record of all disposals of public funds related to the undertaken, matured, unmatured and unpaid by reporting them in an appropriate electronic system. She highlighted that the Ministry has already created lists of bodies, institutions, offices, agencies, funds and other legal entities, founded by the state or local self - government units, which use public funds. A letter including all registered legal entities, founded by the municipality, as well as the amount of the debts they have towards specific creditors, has been delivered to each municipality. She asked the municipalities for their support for greater efficiency while implementing these obligations, as well as serious approach in revising or supplementing the submitted data in these lists. The attendees were informed that a user manual (in video format) for the electronic system is uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Finance and the ministry is open for further support in the process. The Managing Board adopted a conclusion that all correspondence submitted to the municipalities by the Ministry to be forwarded to ZELS, in order the same to be redelivered again with recommendation for serious access of each municipality in the determination and recording of the requested data.

Proposal for greater costs accountability of the public officials adressed to the LSGUs

The President of ZELS informed the attendees about the meeting the Minister without Portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, in charge of communications, accountability and transparency, Robert Popovski. At the same was presented the proposal local authorities to start using the government electronic accountability tool for the costs of the public officials. It was pointed out because the local government is an independent and separate government, neither ZELS nor the Government can impose obligations on it, but by accepting its use by the local officials, they will show the desire for economic and rational spending of the citizens’ money, as well as greater transparency in their work. The pressure on the application of this tool is expected by the citizens themselves. It was concluded ZELS to submit to all municipalities the forms and explanations on how to use and fill in the tool, with a recommendation the same to be as widely accepted as possible.

The MB adopted the new Systematized Positions of ZELS

The next item on the agenda was the determination of the systematized positions of ZELS. The Mayor of the Municipality of Veles, Ace Kocevski, as the chairman of a specially established working group, which revised the systematized positions so far, explained that the members were focused on rationing and determining the most important proposals that ZELS will present to the central government in the upcoming period with great efforts the same to be accepted as soon as possible. The contents of the draft document included 16 points that systematically cover the most important issues in the negotiations with the Government and arise from the challenges faced by the LSGUs. They refer to the provision of greater financial stability of the local self – government units, but also encompass topics for a new wave of strategic development of the decentralization process in the country.

Firstly was determined the necessity for preparing analyzes to give an overview of the current situation in the LSGUs, from the almost thirteen years of implementation of the decentralization process of the government in the country (as of July 1st, 2005). The aforementioned analyzes should refer to the transferred funds to the municipalities for implementing competences, afterwards the legal arrangement of the obligations of the local self - government units, as well as their organizational structure for their qualitative implementation.

Achieving greater municipal financial stability is crucial for the LSGUs. According to this its needed increase of the funds from block grants, greater VAT and personal income tax in favor of municipalities, as well as proposals for increasing the incomes from their own revenues (such as the percentage of property tax) and introduction of new sources of income for municipalities.

As followed it was highlighted the need for establishing "budget negotiations" with the Government, at the preparation stage of the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia, with aim the local self - government units to react on time regarding the allocated funds for their needs, as well as establish a regular practice for maintaining quarterly meetings, for realizing the transfers for the block and earmarked grants and capital investments.

While giving the proposals, it was emphasized the LSGUs readiness for undertaking new competences, planned to be conducted with greater success on local level, but only if they provide adequate funds. Hence were highlighted certain competences from the social protection centers, employment agency, emergency medical aid and health care homes, administrative functions of the Ministry of Interior, cultural institutions and others.

The Managing Board concluded that they should bravely think about changes in direction of improving the local government’s organization and re-examining the model of monotype units of the local self - government, with equal competences, regardless of their size, capacity and transformation, as well as introducing the polytypic LSGUs. In addition was pointed out the need for legal changes in the organizational structures of the City of Skopje.

Afterwards was expressed the need for greater consistent implementation of the Law on Balanced Regional Development, adequate support for the municipalities with debts and blocked accounts, transfer of the already fragmented funds for capital investments in competence of municipalities, as well as the need for adequate financing of the fire protection and many more issues of importance for the citizens. For greater use of the EU and other funds was proposed the establishment of a certain form of co-financing fund, whereby municipalities with poor financial conditions will be able to provide the necessary funds for co-financing projects. The Managing Board of ZELS unanimously adopted the new systematized positions of ZELS pointing out that for their realization follow serious activities and difficult negotiations with the central government. The same will be electronically delivered to all the units of the local self - government.

Accepted the initiative of the Council of the Municipality of Tetovo local authorities to be included in the revision of the Law on Games of Chance

The Mayor of the Municipality of Tetovo, Teuta Arifi presented the conclusion of the Municipal Council, which actively participated in the public debate on the Draft Law for Amendments to the Law on Games of Chance, in order to really mitigate and overcome the problems in this area that negatively affect the everyday life of the citizens of this municipality. Therefore she requested active support from ZELS.

It was stressed out the need for intervention for increasing the number of institutions from the already determined list, near which these facilities should not be opened (betting houses, casinos, raffles), as well as to provide mechanisms for including the municipality, especially in the competence part of the municipal inspectorate services in supervising the right implementation of the legal provisions. The Managing Board accepted this initiative and supplemented it with the position that it is necessary municipalities to be involved in some way in the procedures for issuing approvals for opening these economic activities in their territory, since the consequences of their opening are reflected in the local environment, so the citizens refer to the local authorities with dissatisfaction about disturbing their peace with such or other activities. It was pointed out that it is necessary to consider the possibilities for securing and financial gain for the local government, from the performance of these activities. Thereby by performing these activities it was pointed out that it is necessary to consider the possibilities for providing financial benefits for the local government.

Mandatory obeisance of the legal provisions and the Memorandum with the Government

It was also concluded ZELS to submit a letter to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia with request to obey the Memorandum of Cooperation, signed with ZELS since 2003. The Memorandum foresees the obligation for mandatory consultation of ZELS and thus the municipalities in Republic of Macedonia, regarding the contents of the regulations that are in preparation phase. The Government should also inform its ministries and departments to obey the aforementioned Memorandum. The Law on Local Self-Government also determines mandatory consultation with the local government prior the adoption of legal decisions of importance for municipalities.


Challenges with parking spaces and regulation of the traffic mode

The participants also discussed many other topic issues, among which the challenges for finding new traffic solutions and the lack of parking spaces. It was concluded to be established a working group in ZELS, comprised of the Executive Director of ZELS, the President of the Council of the Municipality of Strumica and the mayors of the municipalities of Center and Kumanovo. They will determine the challenges in this area and will adopt certain positions, which will be considered by the Managing Board of ZELS. Afterwards will be initiated a meeting with the adequate representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The local government and financing sports

The Managing Board also discussed the issue for financing sports, as one of the local government competencies to encourage massive and school sport. Many municipalities want to help the local sports’ clubs, but they have insufficient funds in their budgets, or they do so with purpose to realize the citizens’ infrastructural needs. The participants were informed about the implemented reforms in direction of tax incentives for the economic entities to attract sponsors in this activity area. It was decided to check the legal basis and to submit a letter to the PRO and Ministry of Finance for providing support in the implementation of these legal provisions, meanwhile the municipalities to organize meetings with the representatives of the Public Revenue Office, businessmen and sports clubs. At the meetings will be discussed the possibilities to find the most adequate solutions for supporting sports.

Noted abuses of the Law on Treatment of Illegally Constructed Buildings

Particular attention was paid to the stated remarks on the abuses of the Law on Treatment of Illegally Constructed Buildings, caused by its frequent prolongation, as well as the bad consequences caused by the same in terms of fulfilling the obligations of the local authorities. It was pointed out that with its application were double rewarded those who abused the law and constructed illegally buildings. Firstly, instead of being sanctioned, they allowed the illegal activities to be legalized and secondly they legalized the illegal buildings with minimal funds or drastically less funds than those who obeyed the law. Moreover, the frequent prolongation of the Law application produces new illegal buildings and therefore the small number of inspection groups can’t handle them all. The municipalities also are exhausted and can’t meet the infrastructural needs of the citizens, without the necessary funds for communal taxes.

The attendees also discussed many other initiatives, among which was the need to revise the legal provisions related to the treatment of stray dogs and the provision of financial resources to municipalities to deal with this challenge. The lengthy procedure and other challenges related to the adoption of detailed urban plans were also indicated for consideration by the Managing Board of ZELS.



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