Accounting for Athens!
In the Athens Concert Hall which was full of people, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis presented the account of the first two years of her term in the Athens City Hall and the plans of her administration for the following two years on Monday evening. She also presented the data for the City's finances and her proposals for the future development of Local Government in Greece.
The Mayor's speech was divided in three separate parts: the account of the first two years, the planning of works and projects for the next two years and the proposals for changes in the status of Local Government. Mayor Bakoyannis presented in detail the projects implemented by the City of Athens during 2003 and 2004. These projects aimed to improve both the functioning and the image of the city, to improve the services offered to citizens, to promote social welfare and to highlight the identity of Athens and its particular character abroad.
During the past two years, the investments of the City of Athens increased by 505%, since the investment program raised from 18 million euros in 2002 to 91 millions in 2004. During the same period, the City's revenues increased by 15% per year and the expenses of the functional budget were reduced by a percentage smaller than the raise of salary expenses.
Athens Mayor also presented the five priority areas of the City Administration for the two following years. The priority areas are: the establishment of a greenery network citywide, the restoration of residential areas, the promotion of social cohesion structures, the intervention in the city's traffic management and the development of the already established infrastructures. The implementation of a complete recycling program is one of the projects that the City will put forward during this year, along with a new parking system in the historical center and in other central areas of Athens.
Dora Bakoyannis also requested from the central Government to attribute to the City the responsibility for all of the city's squares and to put an end to the dispersal of responsibility for free and green spaces to other organizations. The beginning has already taken place with the attribution of the National Gardens and Lycabettus Hill and the same should happen for other places, such as the city's squares and parks.
Mayor Bakoyannis concluded her speech with three fundamental suggestions to the Greek government for the development of the role of Local Administration in Greece. The first strategic choice is the establishment of elected government in Regional level, as it is the case in most European countries. The second suggestion concerns the establishment of metropolitan structures for the large city complexes of the country. The third suggestion involves the reinforcement of City Governments, which should be viewed by the Government as bodies which have a social and developmental character. The transfer of funds to local government is the moving force which will alter the role of local government in Greece.
A very large number of Athenians filled the Athens Concert Hall on Monday evening. The turnout was so great that the event moved at the last minute in a larger room, so that it could fit the people. However there were still many people who did not manage to enter the room and watched the event from the video-walls in the foyer. After her speech, the Mayor of Athens honored the firms that sponsored the project for the refurbishment of the city's squares. The City of Athens Philharmonic opened and closed the event.
The event was attended by the Minister of Interior Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the Minister of Health and Social Cohesion Mr. Nikitas Kaklamanis, the Minister of Employment and Social Protection Mr. Panos Panayiotopoulos, the former Prime Minister Mr. Constantine Mitsotakis, the General Secretary of New Democracy Party Mr. Vaggelis Meimarakis, the Head of the City's opposition and Parliamentarian of PASOK Mr. Christos Pappoutsis, Parliamentarians of the Athens District, Athens businessmen and artists and a large number of Athenians, who watch for the first time their Mayor render account for the City Administration.
Click here to read the Mayor’s speech.
City of Athens