Cyprus Mail

Municipalities will create their own reform proposal

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos

THE union of municipalities is looking to prepare its own proposal for the reform of local authorities after rejecting a government bill, which would take powers away and give them to new bodies.

Produced with the advice of foreign experts, it 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 each of the five districts.

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 slashing operating costs.

It takes over all their assets, and their debts, and leaving municipalities with civil weddings, the management of cemeteries, and the operation of school boards.

Municipalities want the powers of those bodies to be restricted to town-planning, sewage systems, district development programmes, and other large developments.

Daily Politis reported on Friday that the union has asked its legal adviser to prepare a bill that will be presented to the government and political parties.

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos had said that the government bill was a good basis for dialogue but parties, including ruling DISY, have already rejected its provisions.

Most of the 30 municipalities are cash-strapped and barely able to service their loans.

Parties created six new municipalities, in the middle of the recession in 2011.

Local authorities have been used by political parties, primarily for the employment of their supporters and as vehicles to provide public posts – mayors and councillors – for members that were not elected to parliament or missed out in the distribution of seats on semi government organisations.

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