INTERIOR minister Socrates Hasikos yesterday unveiled a draft government bill for the reform of local administration, one of the terms of the island’s bailout.
Produced with the advice of foreign experts, the blueprint provides for the creation of second-tier bodies of local government, taking powers away from municipalities and giving them to the new bodies – one for every district.
The overriding aim is to cut municipal costs. For example, the Nicosia district, which has eight municipalities, would have all the services provided by each one separately transferred to the second-tier authority and thus slash operating costs.
“We believe that the costs will be reduced but at the same time the services offered will be upgraded,” Hasikos said.
Despite doubts expressed over the reform by mayors as well as the ruling DISY party, Hasikos said the draft formed a basis for a dialogue with stakeholders in the coming weeks.
A dialogue, he hastened to add, that has gone on for close to 10 years.
Hasikos noted that parliament must pass the law reforming local administration by end-December 2014, as per the terms of the bailout agreement struck with Cyprus’ international lenders.
A key component of the proposal relates to the consolidation of local administration organization, through the creation of ‘complexes’ consisting of two or more adjacent municipalities or communities.