Mayor of the City of Novi Sad Mr. Miloš Vučević held a press conference today, dedicated to the results achieved by the City Administration within the first half of this year, with the aim of informing the citizens of Novi Sad and the public of Serbia on the financial situation in the City, as well as to present realistic indicators for the first six months of the year.

- Today, I will speak about figures and percentages, since facts are the only way to point out the senselessness of petty political misinforming, deliberately placed by ignorant and malicious individuals, with the intention to confuse the citizens. Facts and figures will show that Novi Sad is on the right track – said Mayor Vučević and started his report by presenting the situation of the city’s treasury – total income and 2014 transferred funds of the City Budget for the period January 1st – June 1st 2015 in the amount of 9 billion RSD, which equals to 46.1% of this year’s plan, i.e. 86.3% of the six-month plan. If only incomes and revenues are considered for this year, the total realized amount for the first six months amounts to 7.3 billion RSD, i.e. 83.6% of the six-month plan. This year we witness a clear increase of revenues and incomes in the budget for the previous year for 8.3%. If looked individually, the largest part on the revenue side are the income tax, corporate and the corresponding capital gain tax. For the first six months, the Budget revenue amounts to 3.2 billion RSD. When it comes to expenditures, we have observed the policy of the State Government, i.e. of the Ministry of Finance and of the Fiscal Council, and decreased this year the expenditures for the employees – as compared to the year before – for the first six months in the amount of 7.66%. – said Mayor Vučević

He also discussed the topic of the City’s social policy, by stating that within the first six months the City allocated 126.9 million RSD for social protection of citizens, and that the largest part of it is for children and families.

- On July 3rd, Novi Sad City Assembly adopted the Decision of the Budget Redraft, by increasing it for 16.2% compared to the originally planned budget. It is our expectation that this policy and financial stability will continue, since in financial terms we are the most stable local self-government in the country. – said Mayor Vučević.

Mayor Vučević pointed out that one year ago the process of restructuring of the City’s public, public utility and Preschool institutions commenced. It is for that reason that the City constituted a working group, thereby enabling experts and various professionals to come forward with their advice and suggestions regarding reconstruction of the City’s public and utility system.

- I would have preferred it had we made even bigger and faster steps, but I am glad about the fact that many companies are now functioning better than before. PUC "City Roads", which had been drowning in debts for years and owed as much as 600 million RSD, now in the first half of 2015 has a positive business situation and is the ninth best of 300 road companies in Serbia when it comes to quality, on the list of the Ministry of Transportation. PUC "Lisje" had 414 employees in September 2012, while now it has 292. Its debt amounted to 53 million RSD, while now it is experiencing a 20.77% rise in revenue and 11.21% decrease in expenditures. PUC "City Parks" has cut in half the debt to its suppliers. Moreover, at the end of the business year it had a positive balance, revenue from the renting of the business premises at the Štrand city beach increased by 40 million RSD compared to the previous year, while the company’s anti-graffiti unit removed more than 700 graffiti from the city streets. Even though the City of Novi Sad invests the most in the preschool institution "Radosno detinjstvo", as much as 11% from the City Budget, additional investments are necessary, since every year more and more children are being enrolled. We are working on decreasing the waiting list and, according to the announcements, in 2015/2016 over 16,000 children will be enrolled and we are continuing to subsidize the stay of our youngest fellow citizens in private kindergartens, for which additional funding has been allocated. PUC "Novi Sad Heating Plant" used to be a devastated company without good business results for years, while the company finished the 2014 year with a profit of 785 million RSD, which it used to pay the corporate tax in the amount of 190 million RSD, while the City is no longer allocating funds for current subsidies. From the start of the year, PUC "Waterworks and Sewage" connected about 350 households to the water supply network and about 1,260 to the sewage network, mainly in the parts of the city called Adice, Sajlovo and in one part of Veternik. In addition, we are expecting to connect to the sewage network more than 3,000 households in Stepanovićevo, Kovilj and Rumenka – said the Mayor, summing up the work of utility companies.

Afterwards, the Mayor talked about the continuation of big infrastructural projects, in particular the construction of the Boulevard of Europe, the multifunctional hall in Rimski Šančevi, as well as a similar new hall at the same site and a sports hall in Petrovaradin. Moreover, the City’s dedication when it comes to employment of citizens has been emphasized. Namely, City Administration for Economy has allocated 123 million RSD for incentives from the Employment Action Plan, which is 28% more than last year, when 341 individuals were employed owing to those measures. According to the data of the Novi Sad Tourist Organization, in May the city saw a 11.4% increase in the number of tourists, when compared to the same period last year, while the Mayor also pointed out the importance of the city’s candidacy for the 2018 European Youth Capital, which will make the city’s former industrial area now used for cultural events, nicknamed Chinese Quarter, a unique YouthPolis.

- Novi Sad will not miss this chance for development, as our goal is to make these sites a center of creative industry, with unarguable help from lobbying and international support for the European Capital of Culture and European Youth Capital, which opens the doors to numerous funds and resources – said the Mayor.

Mayor Vučević finished his discussion with a statement that during his time in office the City of Novi Sad has not slipped into even one dinar of debt, while the biggest burden to the City Budget has unfortunately been the obligation of allocation of funds for the cases of Auto Transport Company "Vojvodina" and "Borovica", as well as for the "Radosno Detinjstvo" institution. The Mayor said that those are the burdens of the past, when the city administration was governed by other policies and personal interests, adding that it is unfortunate that 12 million EUR had to be spent to solve the mistakes from the past, instead of using that money for investments.

In Novi Sad, 27th July 2015