“Many local governments are already, or will soon be, facing an inevitable reduction in their revenues, and this will mean that they have an obligation to govern even more wisely,” President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said at the Local Government and Regional Development Roundtable that convened last week.
“This will require greater cooperation between local governments, more deliberation in making investment decisions, and placing the needs of the region ahead of the needs of a single local government,” Ilves said.
Ilves also called on local governments to make carefully weighed decisions, the consequences of which beyond the boundaries of a single rural municipality or city must be considered. “This is related, for instance, to the merger of local governments and the organization of the school network,” he said.
“When the budgets of local governments decrease and state support also declines, the pace of investments must be slowed and great prudence exercised in taking additional loans,” he stressed.
"When unemployment increases it is important that local governments help those who have lost their jobs to find new opportunities, which means a need for training assistance as well as both moral and financial support.
Ilves also addressedt the global financial crisis and its effects on the Estonian economy. “There is no point in discussing who realized the severity of the crisis first and when they did so. Our challenge today is to demonstrate wisdom in making the decisions required for us to reach a surer footing as soon as possible,” noted the President.
“We cannot push responsibility on anyone else, because now is the time for all of us to be accountable,” emphasized Ilves in his address to local government leaders.