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City Council seeks to get closer to the people

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 30
The Tbilisi City Council meeting on October 29 was dedicated to the question of dividing Tbilisi into different wards. This initiative was approved after discussion.

Mayor Gigi Ugulava said that at least 2,000 people visit the Mayor daily asking for help, which is a serious number and some mechanism should be adopted to make the process of obtaining, and giving, municipal assistance as easy as possible for citizens and the local authority. “The division of Tbilisi into wards is very necessary for our citizens, as representatives of the local Government will then be able to have closer contact with the people, listen to their requests and problems and take prompt measures to resolve them,” stated Ugulava at the sitting.

Based on the decision adopted yesterday, 30 wards will be created in the 6 local government districts of the capital. In Old Tbilisi District the Mtatsminda-Sololaki-Ortachala, Vera, Queen Tamar-The Builder and Kveda Chughureti-Avlabari wards will be created. Vake-Saburtalo District will have the Vake-Bagebi, Vaja Pshavela, Nutsubidze, Dighomi-Vashlijvari, Vedzisi-Kazbegi-Gotua-Saburtalo, Kostava-Bakhtrioni-Dolidze-Khiliani wards, the Isani-Samgori District will be divided into the Krtsanisi-Ponichala, Zemo Avlabari-Metromsheni, Navtlughi, Vazisubani, Varketili, The Third Massive, Orkhevi-Aeroport, Lilo and Kvemo Samgori wards, Didube-Chughureti District will have the Zemo Chughureti and Didube-Digomi Massive wards, The Gldani-Nadzaladevi District will be divided into the Old Nadzaladevi-Lotkini, Nadzaladevi, Sanzona, Temka, Avchala-Gldanis Khevi, Gldani East, Gldani West and Mukhiani wards. The Didgori District will contain only one ward, also called Didgori.

Each of the six districts will appoint a representative for each of these wards. The Mayor stated that these individuals will attend City Council meetings, talk about the problems of each ward and present ways these can be resolved. These ward representatives will be paid 1,600 GEL and their deputies 1,100 GEL per month. The Mayor suggests that this project will significantly simplify the process of delivering services to ordinary citizens and give them the opportunity to obtain needed social, judicial and municipal assistance and services timeously.

This initiative was opposed by Labour Party representative on the City Council Paata Jibladze. He stated that each district has its own elected deputy in Parliament, whose main duty is to meet the people in the district, listen to them, attend to their problems and do their best to resolve them, meaning that there is no need to create wards to achieve the same thing. Jibladze also said that the salaries being offered were very high. “If the ward representatives’ salaries will be 1,600 and 1,100 GEL, this will add nearly 1,300,000 GEL to the budget annually. When there is such a serious economic crisis in the country these kinds of initiatives are unacceptable. Each citizen will have to pay these salaries from their pocket,” stated Jiblazde. However majority member Misha Kavtaradze said that this project is one of the best the City has undertaken and Jibladze’s negative attitude was incomprehensible. “This is a very serious and acceptable project for everyone, I think. I cannot understand why opposition members are trying to oppose all initiatives presented by the Government members,” stated Kavtaradze.

Tbilisi 6 District Governors also attended the sitting and expressed their approval of the project. “Sometimes we do not have the opportunity to visit all the people in our districts and listen to their problems. This initiative enables us to assist more people,” stated Temur Grigalashvili, the Isani-Samgori Governor.

The initiative was approved by 29 votes to 1. Jibladze left the sitting as a sign of protest.