The budget for Bjelovar in 2024 is set at 89 million euros, which is an increase of almost 50% compared to the previous year. The mayor, Dario Hrebak, attributes the significant increase to 20 capital projects that will be financed 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 rate in Croatia at 18%, making Bjelovar the largest Croatian city with this distinction.
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. Furthermore, Hrebak stated that Bjelovar earned 25% more in the same month compared to last year.
Despite these positive developments, there are concerns about rising communal fees and kindergarten costs. However, Hrebak assured that there will be no increase in these fees and that they will remain among the lowest in Croatia. The budget conference received support from several coalition partners including Zdenka Henc from ABB Association’s Croatian branch, Borislav Kozić from Croatian Socialists’ party (HSS), and independent councilor Dražen Medved. Unfortunately, HDZ’s Nenad Martinovski was unable to attend due to official duties.