Friday, 21 September

Vanadzor's 2015 "Survival Budget": Only 50 People Show Up at Public Hearing

Of the fifty people who showed up at yesterday’s public hearing regarding the proposed 2015 budget of Vanadzor, Armenia’s third largest city, thirty were municipal employees.

The budget bill estimates 2.242 million AMD in revenues; 84.6 million more than this year. All the above revenues are slated for various expenditures.

Vanadzor Mayor Samvel Darbinyan brushed aside the poor showing by saying that local residents had been informed as to the budget via the internet and that they were evidently not interested in discussing it.

During the hearing, Darbinyan described the draft budget as a “survival budget.”

The issue as to whether or not Vanadzor residents have access to the internet in order to review the budget was brought up by Gohar Kamalyan, a member of the Vanadzor Civil Youth Center, who suggested that notices about the budget be posted throughout the town as well.

Artur Sukiasyan, who heads the municipality’s finance department, told attendees that on the administrative side the budget would finance 86 municipal economic enterprises, but did not provide a financial breakdown of the amounts to be allocated.

Mayor Darbinyan said that the municipality had debts totaling 60 million AMD; 28 million of which are tied to the Vanadzor-Kimprom chemical factory.

When asked by reporters if the mistakes of past budgets had been corrected by the draft 2015 budget, the mayor responded, “Our budget has never contained any mistakes.”

He added that Vanadzor would need 20 billion AMD to draft a realistic budget capable of tackling all its needs.

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