In the coming local elections, Vabakund will stand for a culture of openness and transparency in city administration and for policies which put the needs of the townspeople first. Indeed, townspeople who do not belong to any party must also be able to participate and have a voice in the decision-making process in the city council, so it would not be dominated by narrow party interests.
Vabakund brings together townspeople with fresh ideas who want to create a better and working civil society. Our programme truly reflects the people behind it – each one of us, of course, separately represents his or her own vision and competence, but together we stand for our programme as a whole and strive for its realisation.
Everyone must have the opportunity to participate
In city administration, we will ensure that every good idea is considered and realised regardless of the person proposing it. We will not be bullied by the parties and go along with their power games. We will represent the interests of the local communities.
In the city council, we will make sure that the decisions affecting the public interest are not born behind closed doors. We will provide regular reports to our constituents on the work in the city council and its committees and will make sure that all shady affairs that offend the general sense of justice are made known to the public. As members of the committees, we will involve independent experts and representatives of city communities in the work of the committees.
In order to improve the work of the city administration, we will create a system where the townspeople can provide their feedback and opinions on the work of city officials.
The people of Tartu must be able to directly influence the decision-making at the city administration with public votes. A binding vote allows the townspeople to initiate the passage of new regulations and decisions in order to solve local problems and to block any decisions that harm the interests of local people and communities.
Promises must be kept
All strategic development plans of the city of Tartu have contained numerous promises, but significantly fewer have been realised.
A strategic development plan of the city is an agreement between the city administration and townspeople, it is a duty to the people living the city and it must not be broken. Naturally, all strategic development plans must also be open to changes and updates, but new promises must be justified and explained publicly.
We demand an honest and open discussion over the development of the city and do not accept making any new big promises when the old promises are yet to be fulfilled. Here is a list of unfulfilled promises from earlier strategic development plans – promises which still must be kept:
- A more active role for the River Emajõgi in the city life.
- Solution to the city library’s space shortage problem.
- Construction of Anne community and youth centre.
- Better availability of government services in the city centre.
- Sufficient number of kindergarten places in every city district.
- Sensible and convenient organisation of bus traffic in the city.
The development of the city in compliance with the strategic development plan must be easily observable by the public.
Townspeople must be able to influence the implementation of strategic development plans in regular discussions and in online feedback.
Tartu – a modern ‘free city’!
We want to create a green city where openness and solidarity are valued, where personal freedom is respected, where thoughts are brave and decisions are free. We want a city which makes local decision independently of the central government. Good thoughts and ideas do not come from the government and parliament buildings on Toompea, but are born and realised in Tartu and will spread to all corners of the world. We will strive to transform Tartu into a paragon of digital involvement and a city where everyday life is organised by reasonable officials who have a sense of bigger picture and base their decisions on the needs of the people.
A‘free city’ will have the courage to take decisions with a view to the future, which will result in dynamic and green city planning that takes into account relevant recent research, and in a people-friendly city.
- The involvement of universities in the city’s development should be more significant. We will work with the University of Tartu and other higher education institutions in the city towards a cooperation agreement where we will link the support to higher education institutions from the city budget to goals serving the interests of the community in developing the city space and making it attractive for international students and academics.
- In order to properly open up the international business, research and learning environment of Tartu for employees, scientists, scholars and students, we will make all relevant information regarding the city and government services available in more frequently used foreign languages.
- We will reduce the resource exploitation and environment pollution in Tartu. We will measure the ecological footprint of the city and establish fixed goals how to reduce it year-by-year. Sufficient expertise for that purpose will be ensured by the cooperation between the universities and the city.
- We will ensure the availability of stable funding for active city district societies and will create a start-up grant for any new city district societies.
- We will ensure functional and thought-through access to the city’s transport hubs and matching bus schedules. A well-planned system of cycle and pedestrian paths that meets the actual needs of the pedestrians and cyclists will promote healthy lifestyle.
- We will transform the centre of the city into a no-go zone for motorised transport, except for the personal cars of the local residents and service transport. An active and people-friendly heart of the city will ensure the safety of thousands of pedestrians and cyclists and will help to counteract suburbanisation.
- We will solve the problems related to the nightlife on Rüütli Street with reasonable regulation, not by flat-out prohibition. Part of the street must be given the status of an external cafe area. In order to ensure the safety and security on the street during nighttime, the lighting of the street must be improved and the police must patrol the street regularly.
- People with special needs must be provided access to public buildings and ensured freedom to use public streets, bus transport and special taxis for people with disabilities.
- We will improve the availability of social and support services at schools and kindergartens. Participation in hobby education must also be affordable for children from financially insecure families.
- We will commence using free and open source software on the computers of the city administration and subordinate institutions (including schools). The information system of the city administration must comply with open standards which do not stipulate the exclusive use of any particular software platform and allow digital access to city residents with special needs.
- The city must provide kindergarten places to all children who require it in the neighbourhood of their home or the workplace of their parents. For that purpose, we will create new kindergarten places, and where needed, will reimburse to the parents the difference in the service fees of the municipal and private kindergartens and childcare services. All siblings must be able to go to the same kindergarten.
- We will find a solution to the city libarary’s space shortage problem and expand the activities of the its branch libraries, so that the townspeople would have unrestricted access to knowledge and culture. We will simplify the digital access to library materials.
- We will launch a programme of talks by notable scientists, scholars, writers and artists at schools cooperation between universities, schools, etc. We will support the cooperation between schools, hobby education centres and universities in the creation of elective subjects and courses which will also be open to students from other schools in the city.
- The funding of cultural projects must become more flexible. For small projects, we will offer new application rounds after every three months, for larger projects and programme centres, we will provide a three-year funding guarantee and make annual payments. We will offer long-term base funding for centres for cultural creation.
- We will provide additional funding to bring more art into the public view in the city. A fixed portion of the advertising tax collected by the city will go towards the renovation of facades and exterior sides of the buildings if in this process more art is created and brought into the public view.
- We will build infrastructure for recreational sports and leisure activities along the banks of the River Emajõgi. This includes proper running tracks, water taps and picnic areas. We will also build proper swimming lanes in the river.
Our programme expresses the shared portion of the views of our candidates and the most important points of their personal programmes. The ideas and proposals of Vabakund will acquire their final shape when our new members have presented their personal programmes and their best ideas have been entered in the programme of the election coalition. Our programme is shaped with the input from communities and townspeople until the ban on public advertising becomes in force and the intensive election campaign period starts on September 16.