Pärnu does not want to lose city title, mergees want to remain parish
The city of Pärnu and Audru, Sauga, Are, Tõstamaa, Paikuse and Tori Parishes, currently in talks for a possible merger, have gotten as far as presenting the draft agreement to local councils, however the question remains whether the new local government formed by the merger would be called a city or a parish.
Pärnu Mayor Romek Kosenkranius told ERR's radio news that changes will definitely be made to the initial version of the draft agreement and perhaps everyone currently involved may not even end up joining the merger. It also remains undecided whether the new local government formed would constitute a parish or a city.
"City councilmen think, and rightly so, that this is still a Hanseatic city, a 776-year-old city," said the mayor. "That traditions must be continued and the city should not be lost. At the same time, in rural areas they say ah, what kind of city are they."
Kosenkranius said that it would be easiest if the local government didn't even have to define itself as a city or parish — that this is simply a local government whose name is Pärnu. This, however, would require a change in the administrative reform law passed earlier this summer.
Tõstamaa Parish Mayor Toomas Rõhu noted that perhaps the name wasn't that important, however it held emotional value for people.
"Tõstamaa is not a city but a typical rural region," Rõhu pointed out, "So how do the countryside and the city act in concert with one another and how is village life managed from the city far away?"
Sauga Parish Mayor Priit Ruut noted that as the draft agreement currently stands, the word city is used. "We would prefer to be a parish," Ruut confirmed.