Vranje: Citizens Propose the Budget

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More than four hundred residents of Vranje laid out their priorities for the 2013 city budget on November 15 as part of the public event “Your money, our responsibility”.

The street event is one of the initiatives of the authorities of the city of Vranje, in which citizens are directly involved in the budget planning process by expressing their expectations for the financing of certain areas and projects.

Vranje residents chose three out of seven proposed areas they said were their priority for realization in 2013: youth employment, a program of agricultural development and the replacement of asbestos pipes.

Participants had the opportunity to present their proposals at the local budget forum of participatory budgeting, where they discussed  spending priorities for the next fiscal year with the Mayor of Vranje, Zoran Antic, and municipal government representatives.

“We want you to know that the administration is open to all your suggestions, but you should also know that only projects that are the highest priority will be realized because there is not enough money for all of them,” Mayor Antic told the meeting attendees.

In years of crisis it is particularly important to manage resources in accordance with good governance and in a responsible and efficient way. Citizen involvement in the formulation of budget priorities will help the city government to use city funds in accordance with the long-term development priorities of the community.

The large turnout at the budget forum showed that citizens are particularly interested in budget planning and the Vranje authorities plan to continue this practice in coming years.

The citizen survey is a part of  the good governance campaign “I want to… because I live here” and the project of implementing the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level, realized by BIRN Serbia and funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland through the European Partnership Programme with EU PROGRES municipalities in 25 municipalities in the south and southwest Serbia.