When we cut services, the government will be held responsible, warns the Union of Towns and Municipalities

When we cut services, the government will be held responsible, warns the Union of Towns and Municipalities
When we cut services, the government will be held responsible, warns the Union of Towns and Municipalities

Can it be said that small municipalities will generally be more affected than larger ones?
The increase in operating costs will be a much bigger problem for them because they won’t be able to invest as much or renew the infrastructure. In the most extreme case, there is a risk of limiting the quality of public services provided so far. In smaller municipalities, the most common civic amenities are a kindergarten and a school. If there are not enough funds for this, they have nothing else to conclude. In addition to public lighting.

Was it addressed that there is a threat of an increase in crime in connection with the restriction of public lighting?
Yes, we are aware that as public lighting would be limited, an increase in vandalism, crime and a general threat to safety could occur. The decision when to choose whether to operate public lighting, school infrastructure or homes for the elderly is not an easy one for any mayor. But the street lights will be one of the first things to go off.

Have you also looked at the most vulnerable groups that will be affected by the crisis?
These are the children and the elderly, for whom we will try until the last moment to ensure the services we provide for them, whether it is school facilities or social housing.

But we believe that this will not happen and that such a scenario will not occur. But there really must be a guarantee from the state that energy will be supplied at a stabilized price without fluctuations. It is a nightmare for us that a supplier can say from one day to the next that they will not supply you with energy in a week or a month.

Union of cities and municipalities

The Union of Towns and Municipalities unites 2,777 municipalities in the republic, i.e. 44.29 percent of the total number. The member municipalities represent over 8.5 million inhabitants.

Seniors or single mothers will also be a more vulnerable group. Have you also addressed the gender aspects that the energy crisis will bring?
We have not gone to this level, we must now deal with the problem from a broader perspective. These individual aspects are then dealt with by authorized institutions, whether social unions or labor offices, with whom more vulnerable groups communicate in specific cases and situations.

Which regions will the measures have the greatest impact on?
This is a widespread issue, but if we connect it with secondary impacts such as employment, crime or vandalism, it can unfortunately be reflected in regions that are already structurally burdened, such as Ústí, Karlovy Vary or the Moravian-Silesian region.

At the press conference, you criticized the government, which does not communicate with you. Do you have strategies in place to “put a knife to her throat” if things don’t improve?
It is quite difficult to put a knife to the government’s neck, and we do not want to approach that. At this point, we are only advising that if they do not start to act and take steps, or plan steps in cooperation with us, we will start to really limit some services. With the fact that the responsibility will not be on us, but on them. Then they will have to come up with an adequate response to put civil services back into operation. This is the most fundamental moment when the government must realize that if it does not act, cities and towns are at risk of not running these basic services.

Plus, our reserves won’t really pull it off. We have them allocated mainly for investments. When we do not implement them, we can put part of the reserves into operation. The biggest mistake would be not to draw on European subsidies, which the government clings to.

In some German cities during the summer, they adopted various cost-saving measures, for example, canceling the possibility of showering with warm water in swimming pools or spas and similar establishments. Did you also deal with such smaller measures that would come first?
As operators gradually receive offers for further operation, they begin to evaluate the effectiveness of where it still makes sense to use higher energy and where it does not. These measures, as well as shutting down part of the traffic, are readily available today. They are either being implemented or are being prepared for implementation if there is no change.

Have you also addressed the health impacts of low temperatures, for example in schools?
We are aware that it is impossible to teach in such an environment, so they are the very last in the measures. None of us wants to leave a child sitting somewhere in eighteen grades. Until then, the classic hygiene limits of twenty degrees will be adhered to.

The article is in Czech

Tags: cut services government held responsible warns Union Towns Municipalities

NEXT In Burkina Faso, they overthrew President Damiba, the borders will close at midnight