Some Põltsamaa residents wish to transfer to Tartu municipality

Andres Vään.
Andres Vään.

Some people in Põltsamaa, specifically the area of the former Puurman municipality, want to transfer to Tartu municipality instead. Põltsamaa local municipality government is soon organizing a public vote to measure the interest for a possible administrative transfer.

329 Põltsamaa municipality residents went to the Põltsamaa local government council in January to ask for the Puurman area to be transferred over to Tartu municipality. Former Puurman municipality council chairman Üllar Schaffrik said locals do not accept a situation where the local government solves the problems of the town of Põltsamaa before all.

"There were budget, strategy and other strategic topics being discussed in the fall, when we reached a point where Põltsamaa would develop, it was beautiful and roads were being built. People from Puurman do not go to Põltsamaa often. Movement from Puurman is mostly to Tartu," Schaffrik said.

"Let's put it like this: there are many small [settlements] in Tartu municipality and we are one of those small ones. There is one large [settlement] in Põltsamaa, the rest are small," he added.

In the beginning of the month, the Põltsamaa municipality government council decided that a public vote should be conducted in the area in question. Põltsamaa local municipality mayor Andres Vään said it will take place in the fall.

Vään does not agree that the people of Puurman are not considered when making plans. "I think there is a solution for all of their worries. We cannot do everything at once. Some things have been delayed due to unrealistic plans and some have been more completed than initially planned. It is clear that such an administrative change would cause much confusion and costs," he said.

Although the public vote is set to take place, it is not legally binding. The decision must still be made by the Põltsamaa municipality council with approval from the Tartu municipality government council. Tartu municipality mayor Jarno Laur said there are many unsolved questions, but the move would likely find approval.

"Financial circumstances, meaning if there is a loan taken out for projects in Puurman, then the practice to date in Estonia has been that these loans are transferred to the local government where the residents will begin to pay taxes. It makes sense. Then we must agree what the exact tax burden is and how it will be transferred. There are many of these technical things that we must talk about," Laur explained.

It is still unclear how long the process would take if the people in Puurman were to vote for a move.

The Puurman settlement (red pin) relative to Põltsamaa (northwest) and Tartu (southeast). Source: Google Maps

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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