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The participants (6 men and 2 women), represented both municipalities and service providers’ who could benefit the most from the experience exchange. They were selected from Jalal-Abad and Issyk-Kul oblasts, where the project is being implemented.
The Kyrgyz delegation during one-week trip had an opportunity to visit different municipalities in Sofia and Razlog cities, and get introduced with organization of municipality management, organization of recreation and cultural services, waste management, provision of drinking water and local self-government development. Participants found the trip very useful, based on which their understanding of public service provision mechanism has changed. Public service cannot be provided spontaneously, but rather requires strategic and thorough planning, the tariffs need to be economically justified., Administrative services need to be organized through one-window principle in order to improve the accessibility and time-efficiency. . In this direction, the Taza Koom project on e-governance in Kyrgyzstan was initiated this year.
Recreation and Culture: Inspired by the example of Bulgarian chitalishas (House of Culture) the participants decided to develop a calendar of plan in their municipalities to attract more people and organize leisure time in interesting and effective way. Also, municipal representatives from KG emphasized greenness of the country and saw how important it is to build interesting and convenient parks for residents. They will try to undertake non-traditional approaches for the KR to implement the organization and construction of parks.
Service provision outsourcing: Another important observation by the study tour participants it was how much cost efficient and effective in terms of organization it is to outsource some public services to the private companies, instead of establishing municipal enterprises. This is applicable for garbage collection and utilization of solid wastes in case of the Kyrgyzstan.
Drinking Water: Participants understood they need to promote the obligation of paying for consumed water and introduce water meters to make consumers more caring and responsible for water used. In addition, too low water tariffs in the Kyrgyz Republic need to be re-calculated and be economically justified, explained to and adopted by local residents through public hearings in order to improve water supply and water cleaning services.
From these examples, participants could understand that the main function of the municipality is not the establishment and development of the municipal enterprises, but rather to organize the supply of services that are attractive and accessible to the public. The Bulgarian models although significantly supported by the EU in their development still provide enough good practice examples and comprehensive information on how public service can be organized in effective and efficient manner even with limited financial means. Upon return the participants have developed action plans on implementation of gained experience in their home municipalities with support of LSG, PSI project grants and technical support.