Participatory Budgeting in Has Municipality
EDEN Cent held 4 meetings for residents in the Municipality of Has, on 7 and 8 September 2021 regarding participatory budgeting. These meetings were organized in the administrative unit Krumë and Golaj regarding suggestions and comments of residents for the budget provided for the following year in 2022.
These meetings were attended by about 35 participants with whom were discussed 5 budget programs were selected from a total of 23. The selected budget programs were: Irrigation infrastructure management; Forest and pasture management; Rural road network; Waste management; Sewage management and sewerage
It should be noted that the budget of the Municipality of Has in 2020 was 450,277,495 ALL, of which 31% of this budget represents administrative expenditures, 48% are funds for social services and the rest are operational and reserve funds. Only 8% of the budget goes to investment in community development and the budget does not meet any need for investment in various sectors and categories of municipal services. The financial capacities of the Municipality of Has are the lowest at the county level.
The open discussion was referred to a) budget allocation according to the importance/priorities of the programs and the impact on the population and the territory; b) division according to the urban-rural area; c) the method of gathering preliminary information regarding budget requests.
Most of the residents present at the meeting did not have detailed information about participatory budgeting before starting this process and this was another opportunity to talk about the concerns and needs of the community. Suggestions focused mainly on improving the infrastructure to better connect the villages between them; for furthering the development of tourism by creating opportunities for cooperation with the surrounding areas; upgrading insulated school buildings to withstand cold winters; conversion of existing non-functional buildings accordingly to the needs of the population as centers with social services for women, youth, kindergartens, etc .; to plan funds in the sector of agriculture and food as well as forest service, including agricultural infrastructure; planning the creation of collection points of main agricultural products; agricultural and rural counseling; support farmers, etc. Residents said that although the municipality offers small opportunities, they are still underestimated and the area has opportunities for development in various sectors.
Participatory Budgeting is a comprehensive process, which enables the participation of citizens and all other local actors in decision-making on the preparation and distribution of the local budget.
Participatory budgeting is a process led by local government bodies (municipality and its council) in cooperation with the community. This process should ensure participation, information on the budget plan, including planned investments and services, and should enable the community to discuss and address important issues and priorities during the budget consultation. Finally, this process should ensure that funds planned for services and investments are consulted and community recommendations are considered for the approval of a local public budget in response to the needs and priorities of the community.