Vrnjacka Banja Presents its Budget to Students

Local news, 23.04.2019

Switzerland is one of the countries where citizen participation in municipal budgeting is accorded utmost importance.  With the support of the Swiss Government, the “Property Tax Reform” program is trying to reinforce this practice in Serbia.

Public class on the municipal budget for high school students in Vrnjacka Banja
Public class on the municipal budget for high school students in Vrnjacka Banja © SCO Serbia

Vrnjacka Banja is one of the municipalities that is striving to include its community in decision-making regarding the use of the investment budget of the local government. To this end, they organised a public, civic class on the municipal budget for high school students. The young people watched a presentation on the local budget giving examples of municipal revenue and expenditure plans for the funds available to the municipality. 

“We familiarized the students with the ways the community can be involved, the concrete processes that precede inclusion, such as disseminating information and organising consultations.  We also wanted to convey how important it is to pay property tax, because it provides funds for the reconstruction of schools and cultural centres, as well as for investment in projects of general interest”, said Jasmina Trifunovic, head of the municipal affairs department in Vrnjacka Banja municipal administration.

High school students showed great interest and a desire to get involved, and contributed with their proposals on how the investment budget funds should be spent.

Through the Swiss Government programme “Property Tax Reform”, Vrnjacka Banja has significantly improved the collection of property tax. In 2013 local revenue streams included 53 million dinars from property tax, while five years later, in 2018, this had risen to 177 million dinars. The project is worth almost EUR 5.5 million and is currently in its second phase, which will end in 2021.