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Orędzie Burmistrza Gminy Kozienice na 2016 rok
[08-03-2016]

The message for the New Year 2016 from the Mayor of the Kozienice Municipality

 

Dear All, Inhabitants and Visitors of Kozienice municipality,

The previous year 2015 encourages reflection, summaries as well as it encourages us to create plans for the coming year 2016. The past  year was also the first year of the term of office for the City Council and for the Mayor elected in the municipal elections in November 2014. These were the first elections held under a new electoral law in single-mandate constituencies, which bound more each councilor to the territory and the inhabitants, who he represents. In practice, it should increase the active citizenship and improve the local government’s efficiency.

In the November municipal elections, I was elected Mayor of the Kozienice municipality for the fifth time by you, dear residents. I want to thank you once again for your trust. Trust and responsibility, are what oblige me. Therefore, I want to share with you what we have managed to achieve together. How are we going to meet  your expectations and fulfill your dreams through the budget adopted for 2016 in the nearest future? And what possible changes to local government does the policy of our government after the recent Parliamentary elections entail?

In the current year, three major investment projects have been completed or initiated for the future by the Municipality - in short, each of them amounting to around 40 million zloty: the Culture and Art Center, the reconstruction of the road to Warsaw and the commencement of the design works on the reconstruction of the strengthening of the embankments of the river Zagożdżonka, including the mud removal of its dozen-kilometer long mouth.

The passing year, in particular, was marked by the completion and opening of the Center. It was the biggest investment of the local government of the Kozienice Municipality comparable to the values of our Aquapark in Kozienice. We have managed to combine in one object in a perfect location  various expectations of citizens regarding culture and art. Our beautiful town, undoubtedly, deserves it.  

I’m very glad that you, Dear Inhabitants, evaluated the Center very well and the Center continues to pulse with cultural life. It is a multifunctional object where everyone can find something interesting – the cinema, multimedia  library, Culture Center with a wide range of opportunities, First- and Second-Degree Music School, comfortable underground car park, future restaurant facilities, exhibition galleries,  thematic trade offers.

Interest in the cinema exceeded our highest expectations. There were musical concerts and theatre performances, cinema premieres, thematic cinema for the curious, for seniors, in the future there will be cycles on religious topics. All of this makes that the number of visitors in the Center is high and at the same time it confirms the usefulness and rationale of this beautiful investment. What’s more, thanks to our efforts, in October last year, the Management of Mazowieckie Voivodeship announced an additional competition for the key cultural projects  from the previous programming period of the European Culture. Our project received a positive formal assessment and the assessment of experts and it is currently waiting for the funding.

In 2015, a long-awaited reconstruction of the road no. 79 to Warsaw within the boundaries of the Kozienice municipality has also been completed. It was the governmental investment, however, it was our initiative to implement it as the investment was initiated by the agreement between the Kozienice Municipality and the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways regarding the design works on the reconstruction of the road. Thus, our town moved more into the area of the influence of Warsaw. In a few years, Warsaw and the International Airport “Okęcie” will again move closer to Kozienice due to the construction of the ring road of Góra Kalwaria and the target connection of the ring road with the expressway S79, the first part of which located in the vicinity of the airport has already been opened.

The third important and costly investment task, the designing-works of which were commenced from the initiative of the Kozienice municipality, is the reconstruction of embankments of the river Zagożdżonka and the mud removal from its mouth. It was possible thanks to the very good  long-term cooperation of the Municipality with the Provincial Water Facilities and Land Reclamation Management Office in terms of cleaning the canals and rivers in Powiśle Kozienice. Through the above actions, the Municipality meets the expectations of many farmers of the district Kozienice, who farm the fertile lands of the Valley of the Central Vistula and need to improve the water management, especially in years of excessive rainfall and snow.

These three largest investments in our area amounted to over 120 million PLN and financed mainly from the external funds and were not chargeable to our budget. I also wish to remind you that in the past 20 years other municipal investments (totally several tens of a value of over 150 million PLN) were also implemented with a large proportion of external funds: government grants, provincial government, county  and above all the European Union and partially redeemable low interest loans. At the same time, this was done, and still is being done with relatively low local taxes for entrepreneurs and Inhabitants.

The analyses and scientific works show that the budget of the Kozienice Municipality from the beginning of the new municipalities in 1990 was an important instrument for sustainable local development and it generally had a positive influence of the Municipality development in all areas of its social, economic and ecological activity. At the same time, sustainable local development through appropriate financial management of the municipality gives better results in the long term. Therefore, it is important to make long-term plans of the municipality finances and its high independence from the policy of the new term of office, often resulting from ad hoc and particular interests.

Our actions were often noticed by various chapters and awarded several times in different ways. In the last year, we were awarded in the competition called “Gmina Fair Play”, especially for the professionalism of the office, also confirmed by the independent social research and for the effective acquisition of EU funds ( in the sub-region of Radom in respect of  the nominal amount of the funds in the Union we are the leaders – only 10 times bigger Radom and Białobrzegi are ahead of us). In my opinion, in the previous year, the most important for the Municipality, which positively surprised us and was widely commented in the media across the country, was a national, independent and non-sponsored classification of urban and rural municipalities in the weekly “Wprost” under the name “The ranking of municipalities, where people live best”, in which our municipality took the fourth place in the country and the first ex aequo with Podkowa Leśna in Mazovian voivodship. Most importantly, the indicators that were taken into account in the ranking, was above all hard data dependant on the municipality: environmental protection of the municipality, culture, education and health. Other important awards received last year were the second place in the country in terms of expenditures on physical culture, sport and recreation (There is only the Polkowice Municipality ahead of us).

Furthermore, our municipality has been the national winner of the competition “Self-government of equal opportunities”, for the fourth time we have been “Self – government leader in education” and received the title of “the Leader” in the category of  “Inhabitants- friendly municipality”.

The year 2015 was important in the economic and ecological development of the Municipality. It is the already mentioned beginning together with the Provincial Water Facilities and Land Reclamation Management Office to improve water management on the fertile land of the Powiśle Kozienickie. The economy also means a continuation in the territory of the Municipality of one of the biggest investments in the country – the construction of a new power block in the Power Plant Kozienice of 1000 MW power worth nearly 6,5 billion PLN.

As far as the education is concerned, despite the reduction in the past 10 years of the number of children in schools by more than 1/3, we did not liquidate any schools. One was spontaneously extinguished due to the low number of children. We have improved the availability of all schools for children and young people (better transport to schools, extracurricular activities), we have improved the equipment of schools and the system of recruitment of teachers. As a result, teaching quality has been improved, costs have been decreased and none of the hundreds of teachers lost their jobs. As far the culture and sport are concerned, these are, among other things,  the Bogusław Klimczuk Pop Music Festival, Days of the Kozienice Forests, Festival of Beauty – Miss Poland and Miss of Teenagers, Legia, Marathon, Cup of Poland in Women Beach Volleyball, Grand Prix in swimming, Cycling Race Around Mazowsze, the International Tournament in Men Volleyball, Cucumber Day and many more of a smaller scale.

It is also the seventh Christmas Eve of Inhabitants organized in front of the swimming pool in Kozienice.

As far as the investments are concerned, there is the completion of the new Culture and Art Center in Kozienice and its more and more varied and wide range of opportunities.
We promote culture, although almost all municipal authorities in the country tend to economize on it. In 2016 and in subsequent years, we may concentrate on other important investment tasks, which so far have been waiting for implementation. Both the expectations of inhabitants and economic balance, which motivates us to reduce unjustified current expenditure, are equally important for us in selecting areas for investment for the coming years. We are familiar with the expectations of the inhabitants as we conduct monthly public consultations at the meetings of village leaders and chairs of housing estate committees and at the annual open meetings with inhabitants. We also conduct professional social studies, among other things, “The image of the Kozienice municipality in the opinion of its inhabitants and in the opinion of the inhabitants of Radom”, or comparative nationwide studies from the EU funds called “the Effective Municipal Authorities” as well as the current Internet contacts e.g. “Questions to the Mayor”.

The consultations and social studies inform us on expectations of the Inhabitants regarding, among other things, the improvement of the quality of social services and the increase of expenditures on the transport infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, bike paths and the need to build a new center of Kozienice, which will improve the image and prestige of the town. The Culture and Art Center has already been opened, while the central pedestrian street and promenade are being prepared.

Looking at the economic balance, we can see the need for actions to reduce the increasingly expensive energy carriers and to rationalize the education system. And finally, there are the estimates of the municipal budget for 2016 adopted by the Town Council on 30 December last year as I proposed. It is the safe, pro-investment budget balancing the expectations as to the development of the Inhabitants of the rural and urban municipal parts. The budget is safe as the debt ratios are well below permitted standards (liabilities repayment ratio is 4.5% with the limits of 15% and the total debt ratio  is 42% with the limits of 60%).  

It should be emphasized that financial engineering of the budget is based on a solid foundation, because the last year’s maximum investment effort related to the construction of the Centre did not cause the excessive indebtedness of the municipality and the ratio of the total debt amount has been already in the current year decreased compared to the last year, so we gradually reduce the investment debt. The budget is safe as it has significant reserves in the tax base, its use is in average 80%, what results in  low local taxes, friendly for investors and local entrepreneurs, especially in times of the threat of the economic recession.

I would like to emphasize that this year we again did not increase local taxes, although many municipalities in Poland sets rates at the maximum level, taking advantage of the opportunities given by the Budget Act, which usually increases the maximum rates every year.

The budget is pro-investment as it assumes the maximizing of the investment expenditures using the opportunities of a given year and the optimizing of the current expenditures. Despite the rising cost of maintaining the constantly  increasing network and building infrastructure of the Kozienice Municipality, of our property, the current expenditures rise nominally compared to the last year by only 5.5%. The budget priority is the expenditure on road investments, the commencement and the continuation of the design and the completion of over 20 investments in urban and rural areas.

Although we built the new Culture-Art Centre, which in the last year absorbed a record sum of 27 million PLN, there is also around 12 million zloty for the important investment tasks. In addition, another 12 million PLN for investments in the budget of the Kozienice Municipal Management, which compared to the last year doubled those expenses.

In total, that is 24 million PLN, which still constitutes 15% of the investment in the budget. In the current year, I would like to finish giving an order to the ownership rights to the land along the Warszawska street between the Sportowa and Legionów street according to the new local plan adopted by the Council, in order to start building in the next year an open-air public space, pedestrian street, urban promenade next to the Warszawska street, which together with the new Culture-Art Centre will be a modern vibrant center of our beautiful city.

 It is also a budget of sustainable development as there is an appropriate balance between the investment expenditures of the rural and urban municipal areas. Greater investment needs in the vast rural areas are additionally partly compensated by the Municipal Village Fund, which has been used for several years by the Municipality.

In order to illustrate more the budget of the Municipality for 2016, I will present it in the perspective of its main strengths and weaknesses as well as in the perspective of its opportunities and threats, that is, the SWOT analysis. The strengths of the budget are still high and stable share of the Municipality’s own revenues in total revenue and fully guaranteed cash for providing all the social services at a high level. The weak point may be a transitional lower share of the investment expenditures in the budget resulting from the record investment effort in the previous year and the process of waiting for the European funds both from the old and the new programming period. The funds, as I have already mentioned, may simultaneously turn out to be the biggest opportunity for the budget of the Municipality. I am deeply convinced of that, and I have justified reasons to say so.

 

The greatest threats to the budget are changes in the tax and education policy planned and already partly pursued by the current Sejm, Senate and Government. The increase of the tax free amount will result in the significant decline in revenues of Polish municipalities, and so far there are no proposals how they will be compensated. Abolishing the compulsory education for six-year old children will significantly reduce the revenues of the Municipality from the educational subsidy and there will be the need to organize more places in kindergartens and as a consequence the municipality will have to increase its own expenditures. The announced liquidation of middle schools may be onerous while creating the new schools, their costly adoption  to the new regulations, the change in the investing strategy of the Municipality in the education and the need to dismiss many teachers. That was  short information regarding the analysis of the social-economic budget.

Other priorities of the Municipality in the adopted financial plan are to extend the cooperation with non-governmental organizations that perform own tasks of the Municipality at its request and to increase for this purpose the financial expenditures. It has a positive impact on the development of appropriate social relations locally and on the creation of the civil society.

In addition to the cooperation with non-governmental organizations, it is also important for the municipality to cooperate with the county and municipal province.

Last year the Starost Janusz Stąpór suddenly passed away. We, as inhabitants, are very grateful for everything he has done since 1994 to build the local self-government of the Kozienice Region. I want to assure you of the further close cooperation of the Kozienice Municipality with the Kozienice County, especially in the area of health, education and the road construction. We will also develop the cooperation within the Association of Municipalities of the Kozienice Region and the local action group called “Puszcza Kozienicka”. The proven, good relations with the Marshal’s Office will allow us to raise the EU funds  by the municipality.

It is also important to continue the new promotional strategy of the town including, among other things, the creation of the new brand, a new “trademark” of the town. We have already had a slogan “Kozienice-perfect to bring good luck” and in the last year, the Town Council also adopted a logo of the brand of Kozienice, what will allow to identify the Kozienice Municipality better in the media, to create a new website www.kozienice.pl.

The great development opportunity for the municipality is also a new 1000 MW block being built by the Power Plant Kozienice, which will create many new jobs and reinvigorate the economy of the Kozienice Region, and in a few years it will be a source of additional own revenues of the self-government. The municipality should also continue to develop and improve the cooperation both with the Power Plant as well with small and middle enterprises.

The presented plans and specific actions of the Municipality resulting from the adopted budget should improve its attractiveness and competitiveness, improve the quality of social services and improve the quality of life of the Inhabitants in those areas that are dependent on the Municipality, to create appropriate conditions for the settlement, for the development of the family and for the children upbringing, good education, culture, sports – recreation health services, the sense of public security and in the longer term also the reduction of the unemployment.

In the New Year – God, give us good health – we wish each other the fulfillment of our goals and dreams, those related to our local community, our family communities and the private personal ones, deeply hidden in the heart.

Let good faith in a better future be always greater than the fears related to it. The future depends mainly on us.

I wish all of you a good year 2016.

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ul. Parkowa 5, 26-900 Kozienice
tel. +48 (48) 611 71 00, fax +48 (48) 614 20 48
e-mail: urzad@kozienice.pl
Urząd Miejski w Kozienicach
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