This year, urban development is a priority for the municipality of Nagyvárad (Oradea, Großwardein). The local administration is about to invest more than ever before — half of the city’s annual budget — on urban development projects. According to Mayor Florin Birta, more than RON 1 billion will be spent on various investments, the maszol.ro news portal wrote. As Birta declared, this year, the most important investments include the construction of underground pedestrian walkways in Citadel Square, the modernization of the city’s heating system and the purchase/renewal of trams. Moreover, 71 streets will be renovated as well.
The city’s estimated budget is RON 2.1 billion, announced Birta, who noted that subsidies from the county administration and the government have not yet been included in this amount. Furthermore, according to the mayor, more funds will be available this year to the municipality, as thanks to a number of successful tenders, there will be a considerable amount of non-refundable EU funding.
In 2021, about half of the city’s total budget, RON 1 billion, will be spent on urban investments, the mayor said. The budget plan with expected revenues and expenditures has been published on the city’s official website, and citizens’ comments and suggestions are welcome.
Despite some questions and criticisms regarding the quality of the investments, urban development projects will continue at a quick pace, emphasized Birta. “We need to benefit from European Union tenders as much as possible. In the last two EU budget periods, namely between 2007 and 2013 and 2014 and 2020, Nagyvárad obtained approximately EUR 650 million,” the mayor detailed.
The subsidies from the Bihar/Bihor County administration have not been included in this year’s budget proposal, as the county budget has not been voted on yet. Nagyvárad City Hall requested funds from the Bihar County Council to pay for the feasibility study (RON 7.4 million) for a highway between Nagyvárad and Arad; the city also asked for financial support for the County Employment Agency as well as to cover school scholarships and students’ travel expenses.
As the mayor noted, starting from this year, 90 percent of the salary of those who take care of people with disabilities is being paid by the central government, thus the municipality has to cover just 10 percent of these wages. Last year, the state had to pay 40 percent, while the local government paid 60 percent of these wages.
There are also a number of investment projects in Nagyvárad that are directly funded by Bucharest and jointly implemented by the government and the municipality. Such is the case with the new city sports hall financed by the Ministry of Development and Administration lead by Minister Attila Cseke of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its acronym of RMDSZ). The city of Nagyvárad will also receive an additional RON 10 million from the ministry to tidy up the area surrounding the construction site.
Furthermore, negotiations are being carried out with Bucharest on funds for refurbishing the interior of the Greek-Catholic Episcopal Palace. The palace was greatly damaged by a huge fire in August 2018; it was rebuilt last summer, but the interior work has yet to be done.
Title image: The budget plans include the construction of underground pedestrian walkways as well as the modernization of dozens of streets and the city’s heating system