The planned territorial reform will help reduce administrative costs, as Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce told public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Wednesday, 15 May.
If the ratio of administrative costs to population number increases, with service costs remaining fixed and the population continues to decline, the regional reform will help reduce costs and allow offering better services, says Pūce.
When asked if the reform could potentially reduce accessibility of services provided by municipality, Pūce said it will depend on municipalities and their decisions. He stressed that services are available where people are.
The ministry has announced criteria for local government. With help from a public discussion the ministry wants to find out if the proposed map is good enough or if it requires corrections. A total of 35 local governments are planned to be established. However, this number may yet change. Pūce stresses that the reduction of the current number of municipalities will be considerable.
Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s developed map provides for reducing the number of municipalities in Latvia from 119 to 35.
Territory-wise the largest municipalities in Latvia are Liepaja and Madona. The ministry’s proposed map covers a total area of 3 656.93 and 3 347.35 km2 large area.
Population-wise the largest municipalities in Latvia will be Riga, Daugavpils and Liepaja. More than 100 000 people would live in these municipalities.
The smallest municipality population-wise would be Līvāni, where slightly more than 12 000 people would live after the reform.