LIDIYA SHOULEVA CONFRONTS OFFICIALS AND HOTELIERS
The national sea and mountain resorts may be granted a status of municipalities by the year-end. The news came from the Ministry of Economy, whose head Lidiya Shouleva has initiated the change. For the purpose a special amendment to the Act on Administrative and Territorial Structure will be moved to Parliament by September. The news for the projected change inspired with awe the mayors of Varna, Balchik, Nessebar and Chepelare. All these municipalities are neighbouring the resorts. Nessebar's Mayor Nikola Trifonov has initiated a meeting between them, scheduled for next week, to discuss and agree joint measures for counteraction. Among the hoteliers, however, Ms. Shouleva's initiative caused sighs of relief. People in the branch believe that this move of the Ministry of Economy will at last put an end to the problems with the firms managing the infrastructure in the leisure industry complexes, which have been existing for many years. Obviously, Ms. Shouleva's team has decided to deal radically with the problem. The panel of experts, responsible for drafting the amendments, presently claims that only the Act on Administrative and Territorial Structure will be repaired. The experts share the opinion that the resorts' new status won't necessitate amendments to the Municipal Budgets Act or to the Act on the State Budget's Structure. According to them, the only difference between the so-called national resorts (and future municipalities) and the presently existing municipalities will be only in the criteria for their separation as administrative and territorial units and the order for their setting up. Like all currently existing 260 municipalities the new ones will have managerial bodies, such as a mayoral administration and a local parliament. The choice and status of the mayor and the municipal council shall not differ from the elections for the other municipalities. When making a decision for the establishment of each of the new administrative units, the issue of their permament population will be discussed. Currently, the resorts do not have the status of population centres, due to which it is impossible to have a register of the population. After they are recognized as municipalities, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works will include them in a register. Under the effective Act on Local Self-Government and Administration, the individual structures are set by the structural regulations of the municipal administration, approved by the mayor of the respective municipality. No change of that right is projected for the resorts. The Executive Director of Golden Sands AD Nikolay Nedkov estimates the idea of the resorts becoming autonomous municipalities as the most important one for the development of leisure industry after the privatisation in the branch. This is the only chance to ensure administrative protection of the big leisure industry complexes, Mr. Nedkov said in front of the BANKER weekly. Until now wherever the municipality intervened problems arose. I have in mind mainly the security, safety and public order in the resorts, the collection of garbage and construction, Golden Sands' Executive Director specified. Who will be the winner in that battle between leisure industry and local power, which began in the most manipulative time prior the elections? This will become clear in the autumn. Until then both party and corporate lobbies will surely intervene in that play of interests.