Amalgamation negotiations in Tõrva

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In March 2015, Helme rural municipality proposed the initiation of amalgamation negotiations to its neighboring municipalities, to which Tõrva, Hummuli and Põdrala municipalities replied positively. After that, the negotiations have been continually progressing: several meetings with municipality leaders, establishment of negotiation working groups, preparation of the area’s demographic and social-economic situational analysis and the initial preparations of the amalgamation contract. The aim is to sign the amalgamation contract in May 2016. According to amalgamation consultant Rivo Noorkõiv, voluntary amalgamation should be seen as a measure to ensure a better quality of life for local inhabitants in a situation of a declining and ageing population. The reform has to show, what people gain from it and how the new governance model supports the achievement of community objectives. For decreasing fears connected to amalgamation as well as for the smooth transition to a new government, research-based and prudent decisions concerning the new government coping model are necessary. The solutions proposed by the amalgamation negotiation working groups have to be subjected to substantive discussion with inhabitants and other interested stakeholders, in order to achieve a possibly broad-based support for the agreement. All mentioned topics were discussed at the last steering group meeting on the 17th of September 2015.

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