Some Local Government Mergers Under Way, Others Reluctant
In an effort to adopt a system that more efficiently uses funding and resources, the Interior Ministry is mediating negotiations for merging nine municipalities in Jõgeva, Viljandi and Hiiu counties into just three.
Talks between the town of Põltsamaa and a surrounding rural municipality of the same name are furthest along, reported ERR radio. The town council, which originally proposed the consolidation, is ready to endorse a merger contract. But the rural council is not so sure, according to councilman Toivo Tõnson.
Officials plan to vote on the merger in the spring, and, if passed, it could be implemented in the fall of 2013, after the next local government elections.
Another two municipal mergers are in the pipeline to begin negotiations, but even so this could only result in a minimal reduction of the current 241 municipalities.
By contrast, the government of Finland, a neighbor seven times larger than Estonia, plans to reduce its 336 municipalities by five times in the next few years.