Government coalition agrees to sack Rezekne City Council

  • 2024-02-26
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The government coalition will draw up a bill to sack Rezekne City Council, Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Inga Berzina (New Unity) informed Monday.

The government might decide on the bill either next week or the week after next. The final decision on the bill to sack the city council will be taken by the Saeima.

Berzina said that the government would consider putting an administrator in charge of the Rezekne local government until the 2025 municipal elections without calling a snap election in Rezekne.

According to the coalition's plan, the functions of the Rezekne administration could be entrusted to three representatives competent in financial, legal and other spheres related to the local government's functions.

Since the bill on Rezekne City Council's dissolution has to be first reviewed by the government and the final decision lies with the Saeima, the city council might be dissolve at the end of March at the earliest, said Berzina.

The minister informed that she has asked the prosecutor's office to assess the actions of Rezekne councilors in not passing the municipal budget. 

As reported, Rezekne City Council failed to pass a balanced municipal budget for this year by the February 21 deadline.

Taking into account that members of Rezekne City Council have been unable to agree on the 2024 Rezekne budget, the Finance Ministry has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, asking the latter to promptly assess the municipality's responsibility and capacity to do its job in the future.

According to the Finance Ministry, it is unacceptable that a city council violates laws and regulations and fails to take decisions to stabilize financial situation in the municipality.

The Finance Ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Karina Ploka emphasizes that it was a political decision of Rezekne City Council not to adopt the municipality's budget by the February 21 deadline. This has a direct impact on residents of the city, as well as jeopardizes Rezekne City Council's ability to meet the obligations it has assumed and ensure performance of the municipality's autonomous functions, which is why the Finance Ministry is asking the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry to assess responsibility of Rezekne City Council.

The Finance Ministry explains that Rezekne City Council, by failing to support optimization of Rezekne budget expenditures and review of the municipality's functions, and by not adopting a balanced budget for 2024, will not qualify for a loan from the state budget to stabilize its financial situation, and is deliberately moving toward inflicting new losses on the municipality, which may jeopardize performance of the municipality's autonomous functions.

As reported, the law stipulates that municipalities had to endorse their budgets within two months after the approval of the state budget, which means that February 21 was the last day when municipalities could adopt their 2024 budgets.

As reported, draft Rezekne budget was not included on the agenda for Rezekne City Council's meeting on February 21. Ten out of 13 deputies were present at the meeting, of which six voted in favor of including Rezekne 2024 budget on the meeting's agenda and four abstained, therefore the budget was not considered by the municipality.