Narva announces €97 million budget for 2020 ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Narva's christmas tree this year.
Narva's christmas tree this year. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Narva city council has approved its budget for 2020, which comes to €97 million and prioritizes the organization of the city's infrastructure, though it faced opposition to the budget from within the council chamber.

Narva Mayor Aleksei Jevgarov (Centre) says the new budge continues infrastructure reorganization of recent years, with road construction, including €11 million on a transit road in the town, making up nearly half of the budgetary items.

"[The transit road] is such a complex project that involves major changes, such as traffic lights and intersections, etc. This is a very expensive project for Narva," said Jevgarov.

Renovation work to Narva Town Hall, starting next year, is also a significant component in the budget, with the building becoming both the tourist centre and council seat.

Opposition councillors say that the plans have drawbacks and do not look at the longer-term picture, however.

Katri Raik (SDE), chair of the "Our Narva" group it the city government, said that: "Above all, the city must have a vision of where we are going in a situation where the city's population is declining. In a month's time, we're talking about, 'oh no, how terrible, 700 or 1,000 people fewer again'. But where are we going? There is no broader view, no vision for the future."

Raik added that the budget included nepotism and was political in nature, in her view.

"I call one part of the budget the 'Janovitš stadium'," Raik said, referring to the city government leader Irina Janovitš.

"Mrs. Janovitš is chair of our city council, and a stadium is being built at her school for €1.7 million, instead of stadium for the city. Members of the coalition faction (i.e. Centre) will receive a stadium named for them, ahead of the [2021] local elections," said Raik.

Jevgarov says that the position of Irina Janovitš on the council was irrelevant to the stadium's building.

 "This is the only school in its neighborhood, and it makes perfect sense for us to continue renovating the stadium. In any case, we plan to renovate all the school stadiums," Jevgrafov said.

On smaller components, Narva's city magazine will continue its publication, though the Vaba Lava Narva theater is confirmed not to get any funding next year.

"I told [the theater] many times that come on, let's talk more about what you can offer the city and what you want to get from the city. It's too early to spend money if we don't know where that is going," Jevgrafov said.

The theater will however be receiving state support.

A future development reported is that from next year the city's residents will have a say in the budget for 2021, with €200,000 reportedly earmarked for distribution to public-initiated projects.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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