Measures for cleaner air should be priority for new mayors, economy and finance expert Vladimir Karolev says

Photo: BGNES

Can local authorities help solving Bulgaria's big problems: demographic crisis, standard of living and investment? Economist Vladimir Karolev is a popular figure because of his clear and firm stance on hot topics in society. Mr. Karolev has been living in the capital city for more than 45 years and even appeared among the runners for mayor about 10 years ago. He believes that people with sufficient experience in the private sector, who are driven not by selfish goals but by the desire to change the lives of Bulgarians, should enter politics. According to him, Sofia should be run by a person with experience, abilities and strong will, so that the city could continue its transformation into a modern European capital. "Mayors and municipal councils can do a lot to improve the quality of life of people. It is of paramount importance that measures for cleaner air are taken as this is a major problem in Bulgaria, " Vladimir Karolev says and adds:

"A lot of waste is still being burned in factories and people are using wood and coal for heating. Mayors can take measures to prevent polluting enterprises on their territory, to signal when such businesses exist, and to speak to citizens to gradually limit the use of polluting heating appliances. It's not going to be fast, work must be done in this direction. The other thing mayors can do, especially in big cities, is related to organization of traffic. For example, in Sofia I am outraged that I see so many problems that do not require big investments, and yet nothing is done. There are similar problems with traffic and polluted air in many other cities – in Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad, even in Petrich. I wonder when it will finally be understood that roundabouts could speed up traffic and prevent car crashes, especially in rush hours.

Another option for mayors is to outsource some of the services to the private sector. Unfortunately, especially in Sofia, I did not see any candidate mayor proposing to increase the number of private kindergartens, for example. I am absolutely convinced that there will be entrepreneurs willing to carry out this type of activity. Even some of the activities that the municipality traditionally maintains and pays for can be undertaken by private companies or public-private partnerships. It is very important to stimulate public-private partnerships, especially in countries like Bulgaria, where public structures have neither the experience nor the resources to handle many different activities on their own. "

Vladimir Karolev also has a proposal on how the municipal administration, through its tax policy and economic incentives, could encourage people to stay and not flee from smaller municipalities in search of income and job opportunities. According to the economist, local elections have shown that those mayors who succeed in attracting funds for European projects are elected, because of visible results to the benefit of their fellow citizens.

English: Alexander Markov


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