Planning to create a new municipality, Narva-Jõesuu and Vaivara in Ida-Viru County tried to get the required number of 5,000 registered residents together to avoid being forced to merge with other administrative units in the area. To no avail.
In mid-December last year the city of Narva-Jõesuu and the municipality of Vaivara started a campaign to get enough people to register as residents in their area. Anyone who registered was automatically taking part in a raffle where they could win a brand new Subaru Forester.
Before the campaign, 4,527 residents were registered. The campaign brought an additional 250, which still did not get them the 5,000 they would have needed in order to avoid the fate of a forced merger controlled not by the local councils, but the government in Tallinn.
Chairwoman of Narva-Jõesuu’s city council, Inge Muškina, as well as municipal mayor Veikko Luhalaid of Vaivara confirmed to ERR’s Estonian news portal that they had not been able to get enough residents together. They were 211 residents short, Luhalaid said.
Inge Muškina said that they were now planning to submit a petition to make the area an exception, and let them form a new municipality despite not having reached the required minimum number of residents.
“Until Feb. 15 the government can advise us to enter merger negotiations with the other neighbors, Toila, Illuka, or Sillamäe. In that case we’ll ask for an exception so that we’d be allowed to merge Narva-Jõesuu and Vaivara,” Muškina said.
The ongoing implementation of the Administrative Reform Act will reshape Estonia’s territorial division and drastically reduce the number of its municipalities. The act, which was contested, but with just a single exception found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court’s decision of Dec. 20 last year, calls for a reduction in the number of municipalities by merging them with their neighbors.
Pursuant to the act, mergers initiated by local councils had to be completed by the end of 2016. As a next step, by Feb. 15 the government will issue its own proposals for local governments that have fewer than the legally required 5,000 residents to merge with neighboring municipalities.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn