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Own (core) competencies imply complete and exclusive competencies that belong to municipalities only. Own competencies are listed in Article 17 of the Law on Local Self-Government.

Areas that are own competency of the municipalities relate to the everyday services and needs of citizens or essential services in order to ensure proper quality of these services, but also to make their regulation according to the specifics and needs of citizens of certain geographic locations.

12 February 2018

Own competencies

Some of the fields included within own competencies of the municipalities are the following:   

Local economic development

One of the main competencies of municipalities is local economic development. There are numerous opportunities of municipalities for economic development. Municipalities should ensure that they collect information and data on the situation of the local economy, then analyze them in order to determine the strategies and then implement them.

Among the measures that can be taken in terms of local economic development are the following: Facilitation for businesses; simplification of procedures for start up of new businesses, tax exemption, strengthening financial and economic management capacities of local municipal officials, support for businesses and farmers, stimulation of citizen employment in municipal businesses in exchange for the exemption from a range of taxex, urging local leadership to regularly visit firms to understand community efforts, create funds from the municipal budget for investment in new businesses that can not take credit from financial institutions, training of start up entrepreneurs in management, marketing and planning skills, strategy for economic reactivation and reintegration of diaspora, attraction of investors, foreign donors, etc.

Urban and rural planning

Municipalities determine the overall direction for their municipalities through long-term planning. Examples include assembly plans, financial plans, municipal strategic statements and other strategic plans.

Setting a vision and then ensuring that it is achieved is one of the most important roles of local government. The way a municipality uses its land determines its future development process, and statutory planning decisions are complex and often contradictory. Decisions relating to municipal property are responsibility of the municipal assembly that cannot be delegated, and consequently it is required for members of the municipal assembly to be informed of the processes required of them to decide upon. Being clear about the roles they have is one of the main requirements of a good governance process.

Strategic planning includes municipal development planning, urban development planning and urban regulatory planning but also their amending.

The Assembly approves these plans after recording of the factual situation by relevant departments, usually strategic planning and sustainable development directorates, in cooperation with property directorates, urban planning directorates or cadastral directorates, depending on municipalities. After drafting the plans, these plans are approved by the municipal assembly.

Adoption of municipal acts relating to urban and rural planning is regulated according to Article 11 and 12 of the Law on Local Self-Government, Article 10 of the Law on Spatial Planning, Law on Treatment of Illegal Constructions, Law on the Use and Exchanges of Immovable Municipal Property, relevant municipal statutes, and relevant municipal regulations.

Municipal assembly members need to understand that municipal development planning is important for the future of the community they live in, therefore, before making decisions they should first inform the citizens they represent on draft plans, then listen to eventual remarks and advice, and finally review all the information they possess to make a certain decision. This is very important because it often happens that during election campaign something is proclaimed, while there is no mention of it in the plans of the municipality, and this is also due to the lack of proper information on the part of the members of the assembly.

Importance of planning

Assembly members, when contributing to the drafting of strategic plans, they shape frameworks within which decisions will be taken, and consequently they shape the vision and the future of the city. Given that future decisions will be within the framework of these plans, assembly members need to spend energy and time to understand and assess implications of development policies. The developmental plans in public discourse in Kosovo have no magnitude, are not discussed the same as other decisions which, with their implementation, have immediate consequences, therefore members of the assembly should know that the impact of planning is greater than any particular decision for a particular implementation of the planning.

Providing and maintaining of public and municipal services

Local government is charge for managing and delivering a range of quality services to their communities, such as water supply, sewage treatment, local transport, public healthcare, maintenance of recreational areas, local road maintenance and public libraries.

It is the citizens themselves who would best appreciate the quality of these services, so it is an imperative for the members of the assembly to establish regular communication lines with their community in order to convey their remarks to the municipal executive.

Members of the Assembly can play a very positive role in activating citizens themselves by proceeding with their remarks or suggestions regarding municipal services. Population of the municipalities in Kosovo is comprised in the majority of young people, so the members of the assembly should use social platforms that internet provides in order to be as close as possible to citizens and to take into account their needs so that services are beter accessed by them.

Unfortunately, although the Law on Local Self-Government foresees that the exercise of competencies in this area is an exclusive competency of the municipalities, in practice this is not possible as a large part of the services are provided by public enterprises whose status is defined to be relatively independent of the municipality. However, members of the assembly should exert pressure on these enterprises to provide the best possible services, and also be informed about ownership of public enterprises responsible for providing municipal services and the procedures to which those enterprises are accountable to. Information regarding the ownership and procedures on how a municipal assembly may hold these enterprises accountable are found in Law on Public Enterprises and its ammendments. The companies listed under List 2 which is attached to this Law are local public enterprises. All local public enterprises are owned by the municipality or municipalities as defined in List 2, and shares of ownership of each municipality is as defined in List 2.

Local public enterprises

The rights of the municipality as a shareholder in a local public enterprise are exercised through the Municipal Shareholder Committee consisting of a member appointed by the mayor and two other members appointed by the Municipal Assembly. For this purpose, the Municipal Shareholder Committee has the right to act on behalf of the respective municipality and shall act in accordance with the Law on Business Organizations. Each Municipal Shareholder Committee should, by a simple majority of votes, decide how to exercise the rights of a municipal shareholder in a particular case.

Board of Directors of a public enterprise consists of five (5) directors. Four (4) directors are elected at a meeting of shareholders and each of them has a term of three (3) years. The Municipal Shareholder Committee represents the municipality at this meeting and exercises the voting rights of the municipality.

The other Director is the Executive Chairman of a public enterprise, who is elected by the Board of Directors of the public enterprise.

The shareholder (in this case the municipality) shall continuously oversee the work of the Board of Directors. At local level, oversight of the work of boards is done by the Municipal Shareholder Committee.

The Board of Directors of a local public enterprise shall submit to the Municipal Shareholder Committee an annual report for the calendar year and the results achieved based on the targets set in the Business Plan within 3 months after the end of the calendar year. In addition to regular reporting, the Board should promptly respond to all requests for information required by the Municipal Shareholder Committee. These documents shall be published on the municipal website.

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