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Only King Solomon Can Understand Sighnaghi District Budget Calculations

09.07.2008
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

A adequate supply of safe drinking water is the number 1 problem for the citizens of Sighnaghi District is. Zaza Zedelashvili, the Sighnaghi District Governor admits that the first item that concerns the Municipality authorities is to support the Sighnaghi Municipality administration. The problem of drinking water for the population is not a high priority. 904, 000 GEL was allocated to cover Municipality administration expenses in the Sighnaghi Budget of 2008.  This is 28, 5% of the total district budget. 23 000 GEL is assigned for Municipality-Sakrebulo and District Government stationary expenses. 16, 080 GEL out of 23 000 will be spent on purchase of paper. This means that Sakrebulo and District Government representatives need approximately 1 million sheets of paper in a year. Based on this we can infer that they will use 3,831 sheets of paper per for each working day.

According to the research which was conducted by the Center for Strategic Researches and Development of Georgia the most pressing problem for Sighnaghi District population has been drinking water for several years. 596,000 GEL was allocated for the rehabilitation of the drinking water supply system in Sighnaghi district villages out of the 2007 local budget.  However, the Sighnaghi Sakrebulo spent this money on Sighnaghi City rehabilitation. This is when only 5 % of Sighnaghi District population lives in the city centre of Sighnaghi.

Much like the previous year, a rather small amount of money is allocated to solving drinking water problem for those who live in villages of the 2008 district budget.

According to the internationally acknowledged standards, only 10 % and less of district money must be spent on district administration. However, Sighnaghi administration assigned far more than the 10 % from the district budget for its financial expenses, as already discussed.

According to the 2008 Sighnaghi District Budget, the members of District Municipality will spend 15 000 GEL on car fuel per year. This means that medial spending rate will be 60 GEL per day. According to this data Municipality representatives will cover 400 km every working day. The same amount of money is apportioned for District Governor. We can infer that District Governor will cover 400 kms on average and spend 6-7 hours driving with a car every day.

13,600 GEL is allocated from 2008 budget for filling mobile phone accounts to members of Sighnaghi Board of Administration and District Government. We calculated that in 2008 the members of local government must talk on mobile phones for 800 hours continuously in order to spend that amount of money which is allocated for this purpose. 

“According to the budget expenses the members of Sighnaghi District Administration will practically be always away from their offices. Consequently, they will not have time for solving economical and housing-communal problems of the population. Probably this is the reason for spending so little money on funding economical and communal infrastructure. The facts demonstrate that the Sighnaghi District Government does not care about the problems of the population. The administration is busy with spending more and more money on their own expenses out of public funds,” state the representatives of Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia; the center’s research budget procedures is part of the budget monitoring function that it carries out.

The center assessed that if Sighnaghi Municipality board will have unscheduled incomes and these funds will enable local authority to distribute unscheduled resources unilaterally and increase the expenses of keeping up municipality administration, and such facts are not rare and this was previously the case as well. More precisely, early in 2007 1, 024 900 GEL was allocated to keep the municipality board and administration. At the end of 2007 the total expense reached 1,736, 767 GEL, which t means the initially allocated sum was exceeded by 711, 867 GEL.

According to official data, 9.700 GEL was allocated for police expenses in 2008. Mamuka Iskandarashvili, an expert thinks that the fact blatantly violates the law. Article 17, Paragraph I of the Georgian Law on Public Security Service, states that the service is funded from Georgian State Budget. However, the Organic Law on Local Authority and Law on the Budget of Local Self-Governing Entity were breached when 9,700 GEL was apportioned from local budget to keep the police,” stated Iskandarashvili.

-Reportedly, you have carried out the analysis of 2008 budget of Telavi Municipality Board. What violations were observed; does Telavi Board also apportion large sums to keep the administration?

-While discussing the expenditures of the Telavi Municipality Board we should draw our attention to the office, communal, transportation expenses and well as the use and storage of equipment. At least on paper the total amount of expenses exceeds 9, 000 GEL. 8, 800 GEL out of it was spent on copy paper. Under such conditions the Municipality Board intends to purchase only 10 cartridges that cannot be enough for so many printed copies. Based on these figures the Municipality Board had to use more than 3 000 sheets of paper a day. It is obvious that the current municipality could not work out so many papers. Besides that additional 5,000 GEL is apportioned for copying expenses in the local budget.”

Zaza Zedelashvili, Sighnaghi district governor, explained increased expenses for the administration in 2008 stating “Sighnaghi is developing and relatively the expenses are increasing too.”

-Mr. Zaza, experts assess that the budget expenses do not coincide with real need of population.

-I cannot agree with you; but even if you are right, it is not my problem. The 2008 budget for Sighnaghi was drawn up by Ramaz Khatiashvili, former district governor.

-Expenses for keeping the administration are # 1 priority in the local budget. Nevertheless, you have stated several times that the main problem in the district is water supply. For example, residents of the village of Vakiri are supplied with water through asbestos pipes that is too dangerous for health.

-You are right. The administration requires great expenses. However. Can you explain why are you so worried?

-Mr. Zaza, according to the budget the administration and municipality boards use 3 831 sheets of paper. How do you manage to use so many papers?

-I do not remember how many sheets of paper we used. But if we use that means they are necessary and we have mentioned it in the budget as well.

Administration of the Kakheti Regional Governor monitors the activities of the district administrations. Giorgi Botkoveli, deputy regional governor, stated he has not been provided information about the important increases in administration expenses for the Sighnaghi district.

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