May 20, 2014, Kyiv – Andrii Sadovuy, Mayor of Lviv, during the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center spoke on need for reform of the local self-administration, Ukraine’s crisis exit prospects and the role of Lviv citizens in building of the new country.
“I am proud of all the Lviv citizens, who acted bravely during Maidan, or went to the service to the Eastern Ukraine,” said Andriy Sadoviy. He also told of the great support to all the families who lost their siblings in the tumultuous events of recent months. In particular, they were given certificates for apartments. He also noted the need for a deep respect and folk memory of heroic deeds: “We have been working on “Nebesna Sotnia” monument, one of the city’s streets was named after one of the fallen heroes.”
In addition, the mayor is actively working towards the destruction of the malicious propaganda that is being recently distributed by Moscow, “We actively welcome and gladly accept students from Mykolaiv, Kherson, Crimea, Kharkiv and Donetsk. These are young girls and boys who have never been to Lviv. We even formed a phenomenon – Russian becomes the primary language in the city center. This is our contribution to the unification of Ukraine”. Mr. Sadovuy emphasized the need to better understanding of each other and found that many people come to the city to feel like a free man in a safe city. “Many companies, especially from the East, move their offices to Lviv – he said. – One of the key factors here is security. Previously it was not given so much attention, now security becomes extremely important.”
Mr. Sadovuy said that he expects the presidential election with hope, but warns everyone not to fall into euphoria. He pointed out the critical need for early elections to the Parliament and local councils. “Any reforms, no matter how great they are, can not be implemented without public confidence – says Andrii Sadovuy. -We want to see people who are willing to serve the community.” At present, the situation is critical: many cities have old leaders, appointed during the time of Yanukovych, and some cities remained without its mayors.
“I am afraid that we are still talking about the reforms globally, let’s finally allocate the local government in a separate unit – offered Andrii Sadovuy. – Pigeonholing this issue is not correct. There should be a document which clearly states items of administrative-territorial reform to decentralize power and our politicians shall to vote for this plan as soon as possible without any delay. Once we give cities the opportunity to work smoothly – it will become a turbojet engine that will lead Ukraine to a wholly new level.”
As for the certain steps towards decentralization, Mr. Sadovuy suggested the following:
– reduce the number of MPs, but provide them with a decent compensation;
– create municipal police;
– subordinate public safety, transportation, construction, etc. to local authorities;
– tighten control over the city finances, redistribute income tax on local businesses in favor of the city, and so on.
In particular, according to Andrii Sadovuy, local tax institutions are not currently collecting local taxes because they do not have the time and desire to do so. They are exclusively engaged in state taxation. While the local taxation is a very important resource that has to be controlled by the local community.
As for maintaining order in the city, Andrii Sadovuy said that when Lviv was experiencing its “Night of wrath” after the mass people shoots at Maidan, several thousands of citizens walked the streets and scared all the police officers and employees of the Security Service. “When all the militia disappeared overnight and the bandits were not gone, we gathered business leaders who engaged their staff to begin patrolling the city – says the mayor. – This continued for 2 weeks, during which the crime rate in Lviv slashed by 2-3 times. So, maybe we do not need such militiia? I am responsible for the city, because I have been chosen by the community. We had no authority to do so, but ensured good order in the city.”
Regarding control over finances, Andrii Sadovuy said the following: “Now the cities generate taxes, then this resource is removed and you, as the mayor, have no funds for development of the city’s infrastructure. It would be fair enough if at least 50% tax on profits would go for development of the city. Moreover, the bank that serves the public shall be elected by each city on a tender basis – the one, which performs better, to be signed an agreement with. Money should work, there should not be any monopoly. And now we have to wait for months for payment effecting – it is nonsense.”
All these measures for the local government reform have to essentialy minimize corruption, according to Andrii Sadovuy. All Ukrainian cities must work in synergy; for the time being, Mr. Sadovuy compared their performance with “cemented”. “Creating jobs is not profitable for them as it requires money and infrastructure, and we are not given money – said the mayor. – I believe that in every city there are many active people who are ready to develop their cities, you need to give them such an opportunity. For example, Kyiv requires high self-organization, hard and systematic work, self-discipline and within eight years this city would become the second Vienna.”