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Bulgarian Municipalities Never Had It Worse

Date: 12.07.2010

Municipalities in Bulgaria have never been in a more dire situation in the last 20 years, according to Dora Yankova, head of the national association of local authorities (NAMRB).

“The fact that the 2010 revised state budget is cutting out BGN 100 M from municipal state subsidies might not seem like such a big deal to some, but this is a lot for us. We are very worried. The Bulgarian municipalities have never had it worse since 1989,” Yankova told the BNR Sunday.

The NAMRB Chair, who is also the Mayor of Smolyan, and affiliated with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, has repeatedly criticized the center-right GERB party government for its decision to cut state money for the local administrations by BGN 138 M as part of the national austerity measures.

“At the end of 2009 our municipalities went in debt; some 80% of them have structural deficits, and these are going to deepen now,” said Yankova adding that she offered on sale several properties in downtown Smolyan in order to raise money but that not a single bidder showed up for them.

“The situation is extremely bad, and we are constantly in negotiations with the central authorities. The government has got to realize that there is no strong state with weak municipalities. The framework of the 2011 budget is extremely important for us. We want changes in the relations between the central budget and the municipalities. We want part of the tax revenue,” explained Yankova.

In her words, the municipalities have asked the prime minister and the parliament to put the 2011 draft state budget on the table as soon as possible since many applications for EU funding have been put off for next year because of the inability of the Bulgarian authorities to provide the required co-funding.

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