I know, in my posts and speeches I often criticized (and, apparently, will criticize more) the procedure of creating united territorial communities (UTC) in Ukraine. In particular, there has been criticism against the state regulation of this process. Yet, there is still no better alternative to UTC, especially for rural areas. Therefore, here are my 10 reasons why it is worth uniting:
1) UTC, unlike current village and town councils, will have real powers and considerable financial resources.
Therefore, people will be able to choose the authority that will not only issue “certificates” (as this is now done in village councils), but will also be able to help improve the life in society;
2) the alternative to creating UTC is very sad.
If you don’t want to unite into a community, then you have to accept the fact that the real powers will be in hands of state bodies (district state administrations, etc.) and quasi-structures (district councils) that have demonstrated their inefficiency in 25 years of independence. Do not expect that the state will put things to order in your community – you can only reach this by your own efforts!
3) with the creation of UTC, the relevant council takes over the management of education (and there is state subvention provided for this).
For the society it is an opportunity to create good schools, to qualitatively educate children in them, which will let the children stay in the community once they grow up instead of seeking greener pastures elsewhere;
4) with the creation of UTC, the relevant council takes over the management of medicine (there is state subvention provided for this as well).
Thus, communities have the opportunity to create medical institutions, attract good specialists. So UTC will be able to take care of the elderly who will receive at least some kind of treatment. Of course, medical services will not immediately become perfect, but let’s admit that today there is simply no health care in rural areas at all…
5) UTC budget will be many times as big as the joint budgets of the village councils that are part of the association.
This data is statistical and verified by the practice of creating UTC. This is very important, because when there is money, there is an opportunity to implement real things; when there is no money, then this is just useless talking;
6) today these are district state administrations and the State Land Cadastre that are in charge of the lands outside the settlements.
When UTC will be set up, communities will have more chances to get control over these powers. We hope that the Verkhovna Rada will finally adopt a corresponding law on which Samopomich has long insisted;
7) UTC is an opportunity to decide independently which roads should be repaired, which streets should get light, where to put things in order, where to eliminate infrastructure and communal troubles. Do not wait, do not grumble, do it yourself!
8) the current territorial units, such as districts for example, are not effective.
Therefore, the creation of UTC on the basis of a whole district is a mistake. A united territorial community should not be small, because then it will not have enough resources for quality work. For example, if only two or three villages unite, then it will not make any difference. On the other hand, UTC should not be too large, because then the UTO centre will be remote and separated from smaller villages.
9) it is all about right staff!
When creating UTC one can find and choose professionals who will work in the appropriate council. Nowadays there are a lot of trainings, internships, grants – this all should be used. But, first of all, you should count on your own resources, no one will do your work for you.
10) a big advantage of UTC is the close cooperation between the authorities and people.
People will be able to scrutinize the work of the elected council, will be able to control it by holding general meetings, public hearings and the like. So it will be possible to influence the authorities not only during elections. And how can you influence the district state administrations? You cannot. Therefore, UTC creation is a big step forward towards real self-government in the country.