Almost half of the money from the National Urban Reconstruction Plan is in loans, and that doesn’t help – local authorities ’assessment.
In the first version of the National Reconstruction Plan, local government officials did not leave a dry line. It has been criticized that the cluster of local projects was too small, and that they were supposed to be directed primarily to smaller units, marginalizing the larger cities.
In the new document, which was already sent to Brussels for approval, the government took into account many of the comments made during the consultations by local governments. Co-financing is the acquisition of a wider range of tasks, The total has risen from 3.4 billion euros to more than 11 billion euros, but society is still not cheering. why?
Also read: Cities do not like the new release of KPO
– In fact, the funds allocated to the activities of local governments have been clearly increased, which may be beneficial to us – comments Krzysztof Mejer, Vice President of Ruda Śląska. But as always, the devil is in the details. From this perspective, the new KPO is not good for us – he asserts.
Parks on loan?
The main reason for dissatisfaction is the fact that a large portion of the support will be mobilized from the loan portion of the European Union’s Reconstruction Fund. According to our analysis, it is around 5 billion euros, which is almost half of the total estimated amount.
In theory, the rules are simple. Loans should be directed to those sectors that can earn on themselves and thus pay off the loans obtained. The grants needed for such investments, which are necessary and necessary, but without support, cannot continue, let alone profit – explains Piotr Grzybowski, Vice President of Cz شيstochova. In the meantime, within the framework of the “Green Transformation of Cities” program, with a large sum of 2.8 billion euros, projects such as building bicycle paths or arranging green spaces will be funded from part of the loan – the president enumerates.
The government notes this problem in the provisions of the KPO and understands that it is difficult to contemplate profits from revitalizing a city park or afforestation of public spaces. And the It even stipulates the possibility of converting the loans of some projects into grants, for example. But details are missing.
We had a plan to develop, within the framework of the KPO, for example the banks of the River Bitumka, in order to turn them into recreational and entertainment areas for the residents. But now we don’t know if that is possible – President Major says. You have to take out loans to pay off loans, and top-down levers of fiscal discipline don’t allow many cities to increase their debt – he asserts.
The loans are also to finance activities such as the purchase of rail cars (500 million euros), Trams (200 million euros) or even investments in hospital infrastructure for cows (150 million euros). – At the same time, there is a shortage of transportation in the cities and it does not promise any chances of repaying the loans taken from the revenue – confirms Piotr Grzimovich, mayor of Olsztyn.
Not to mention hospitals, which should not be financed with debt at all, and at the same time the government plans to seize them by the state. He confirms that it is not known who will pay off the loan next.
– This directly affects Gliwice’s plans, such as building a new building for the Municipal Hospital – says Adam Newman, Gliwice’s mayor. – Provincial hospital support is only limited to the returnable form, which is not entirely justified in the current healthcare financing system – he confirms.
The lost trust
Local government officials also regret that while half of the KPO’s money for them comes from loans, the government is positioning itself in a much better position. And central institutions grants about 80 percent. Subsidies (and only 20% of repayable funding).
The question of whether the Reconstruction Fund money will be distributed equitably is also a major concern. – It is good that the KPO is ever created, because it creates any opportunity for development funds. Whether this opportunity is real or imaginary – practice will show – comments by Jerzy Sweenac, Mayor of Gelenia Gora.
This is a reference to the Governmental Fund for Local Investments, according to which the subsidies were distributed without clear criteria, and as shown by the data of independent organizations – local governments associated with the Law and Justice Party received significantly more money than other governments. As a result, a large percentage of local authorities have lost confidence in the government due to its impartiality.
Long list of reservations
Hence, local government officials are unanimously demanding that KPO include valves that exclude the possibility of manual control of the EU support distribution. They are calling for a strong monitoring committee that has a real impact on setting project selection criteria and controlling program implementation, with overwhelming participation from the social side (including local governments, business organizations and NGOs).
The list of new objections and comments on KPO is much longer. Some authorities complain about their inability to develop the water and sanitation networksBecause the funds for wastewater treatment plants were intended only for rural areas (about 200 million euros).
Perhaps, under the Reconstruction Fund, local governments will not be able to apply for grants to build and upgrade roads, even those related to other investments in increasing electric mobility. Piefot appeared in the changed plan. To replace the transport trains of regional rail and urban rail transport. But the President of Warsaw, Rapai Trzaskovsky, laughed that this amount would be enough to buy only about 100 trams across the country, but there are no funds for the metro of the capital.
There is a lot of controversy over the fact that some EU support has been earmarked for local governments on paper, but in practice local authorities will have a limited impact on spending. It is mainly about the Clean Air Program, meaning household subsidies for replacing old heating stoves. Here, a whopping € 3.2 billion is at stake, which is about a third of the total amount for local governments. However, this is a government program, and money will only “flow” through local budgets.
Krzysztof Żuk, Mayor of Lublin
Lublin is interested in support areas such as the purchase of zero-emissions train cars, the digitalization of education and management, the construction of nurseries or the green transformation of cities. But final decisions will be made when detailed rules for implementing KPO operations emerge. Under these specific circumstances as at present, some plans will be difficult to realize. Our financial situation will, inter alia, be crucial when applying for investment financing from the loan portion.
Wojciech Szczurek, Mayor of Gdynia
The KPO needs improvement. They include, among other things, an increase in the portion of support in relation to the loan to local governments, a change in the proportion of the distribution of funds between the government and local governments, and transparency regarding the terms of reference of the oversight committee. The civilizational leap of our country is the work of local governments that have spent European money efficiently and wisely. Poland’s future depends in large part on being allowed to do it again on fair terms.
Jacob Panasik Chełm chief
The National Plan for Reconstruction and Increase Resilience is an opportunity to quickly reverse the negative trend in the economy caused by the epidemic. It is also real and much needed support for local government units in Poland, which have also been affected by the pandemic crisis. As Chełm City, we want to apply for funds to develop long-term projects that we carry out in KPO competitions, including. Such as the road reconstruction program, urban infrastructure expansion or public transport development.