Rēzekne finally moves toward balanced budget

An emergency meeting of Rēzekne City Council on Thursday, February 29, has decided to reduce budget expenditure to stabilize its financial situation. Deputies unanimously approved a reduction in spending of 3.5 million euros, thus moving towards a no-deficit budget approval at the next City Council meeting on March 7.

Savings have been generated by the abandonment of voluntary initiative allowances, leave allowance for local government employees, support of sports associations and professional athletes, free initiative measures of the Creative Services Centre and other austerity measures.

As reported numerous times by LSM, Rēzekne found itself in serious financial difficulties in the summer of 2023, which led to the loss of office of former Mayor Aleksandrs Bartaševičs (Together for Latvia). The political crisis in the state capital was worsened by the City Council's failure to pass the 2024 municipal budget. The adoption of a balanced budget was one of the conditions for the local government to receive a State loan of EUR 5 million, but the local government did not meet the deadline. 

The proposed austerity measures were voted for by all 11 Council members present. Aleksandrs Irišins and Olga Strode, who both represent the Together for Latvia party, were not present at the meeting.

The laws and regulations stipulate that local governments must adopt budgets within two months after approval of the State budget, following which the local governments had to adopt 2024 budgets by February 21. Rēzekne City was the only municipality in Latvia that had not done so, because the ruling party Together for Latvia either did not attend sittings or did not decide on votes. 

The situation escalated so far that it was decided in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development to prepare and advance a draft law on the dismissal of Rēzekne City Council for consideration in the government.

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