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On November 4th, 2009 the National Assembly of Heigard approved a bill for a Reform in the Number of Municipalities of Heigard. The approval was obtained with a majority of 179 votes over 139 opposing votes and 3 "null" votes. The reason was to give the new municipalities greater financial and professional sustainability.

Overview[]

Since 1903, Heigard was divided in 799 communes which was considered an extremely high number of municipalties for a country the size of Heigard. The most of those communities were several small villages and towns that had existed for centuries in the territory.

In modern times the smallest communes, many having less than 1,000 inhabitants virtually depended on the bigger communes nearby in matters of government, finace and general infrastructure. However, several small communes agglomerated and appointed a local council to manage the area comprising the community. In other cases, the communes of an arrondissement were represented by the respective Prefect.

For example, the Luge arrondissement in Port Habsburg comprised 45 micro-communes up to 2001, and was isolated from larger communes and urban centers, creating a poor management and infrastucture. The Government had seen this problem elsewhere in the country, but never acted to improve the life quality of such areas.

Reform[]

On November 13th 2009, President Johann Meukervan, supported by the Ministries of Interior, Finance and Health and Social Welfare, passed a bill to the National Assembly to disscuss a re-organization of the municipalties of Heigard.

The bill contained the following proposals:

  • The grouping of communes would be based on population, rather than territorial area.
  • Up to 50 communes can group to amount a 10,000 population.
    • In some instances, the communes would be merged with the nearest commune/city if holds more than 10,000.
  • Arrondissements would remain unaltered unless affected by mergers.
  • Trans-departamental mergers would not be attainable in benefit of population, to avoid confusion between people living in communes bordering another department.
  • The new number of communes will fit the number of seats in the National Assembly.

After 15 days of harsh dialogue among the deputies the bill was approved by majority and January 1, 2010 was set as date for the reform to take effect.

Benefits[]

  • The merging between municipalities will reduce the quantity of money used in mayors' salaries, amounting an approximate of €2 millions, which will be further used to build roads between the settlements and for general infrastructure (social welfare, maintenance of communities, etc.)
  • Tourism will be boosted with the construction of new roads and the creation of new touristic routes.
  • Employement rates are expected to raise at least a 2%.
  • Police districs will be reduced as well (fitting the number of new communes).

Controversy[]

Many people belive that unifiying small communes with large/medium cities will boost a critical rural depopulation; some belive the cultural heritage of medieval or historic communes like Arien or Rile would disappear if an extensive urbanization would be allowed. Also, naming the new formed communes has created disputes among the inhabitants of merged communities, giving the opportunity to several political parties to lower the popularity of the Republican Party.

Meukervan expressed in defense "The matter was extensively disscussed by the National Assembly and the members of the Cabinet, and every detail on merger was thought. We will care to preserve for future generations the ancestral legacy of the called "old towns" throughout the country; the objective of this change in municipalties is to improve the lifestyle of Heigardian citizens, as we are going to remove several mayors, the funds that were destined to their salaries will now be used in benefit of Heigard: we've comissioned the builing of new and durable roads between the hubs of newly formed communes and a general improvement in social welfare, such as in improving electricity service, sewage treatment and non less important, a reduced number of police districts for the Gendarmery, making the system more effective."

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