Bjelovar’s 2024 budget has been set at €89 million, a massive increase of almost 50% compared to the previous year. Mayor Dario Hrebak attributes this significant boost to 20 capital projects that will be financed mainly through European funds. These projects include the complete restoration of six earthquake-damaged buildings, energy renovation of eight buildings, construction of three new kindergartens, beginning construction of a new elementary school, equipping the business zone in Veliki Korenovo, and continued investment in geothermal wells.
The mayor emphasized that this will be the largest budget in Bjelovar’s history and is both realistic and achievable. Notably, the budget also includes the lowest income tax in Croatia at 18%, or 28%, making Bjelovar the largest Croatian city with the lowest income tax rate.
Hrebak expects that families in Bjelovar will have an additional average salary on an annual basis due to this budget. He also pointed out that despite reducing and eventually abolishing the surtax, the city’s coffers remain well filled. Additionally, Hrebak stated that the city earned 25% more in revenue compared to the same month last year.
Furthermore, Hrebak assured that there will be no increase in communal fees and that kindergarten costs will remain among the lowest in Croatia. The budget conference received support from all members of HSLS coalition partners Zdenka Henc (ABB Association), Borislav Kozić (HSS), and independent councilor Dražen Medved. However, HDZ’s Nenad Martinovski was unable to attend due to official duties.
In conclusion, Bjelovar’s budget for 2024 is a significant increase from last year’s budget due to capital projects financed through European funds. This increase is expected to result in higher salaries for families and lower communal fees while keeping kindergarten costs competitive within Croatia.