As Revenues Continue to Rise, Bjelovar Mayor Hints at More Tax Cuts

Total Croatia News

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Bjelovar, Croatia - Commons/Wikimedia/Fraxinus

February 3, 2020 – More Bjelovar tax cuts appear to be on the way, as Mayor Dario Hrebak announces more rising income after halving local tax last year. 

Writing online can be a lonely business. With no colleagues in the office to joke around with, one has to look for other ways to get one’s kicks during the working day. 

One of my new things is to write about something positive in Croatia and wait to see how long it takes for someone to attack that positivity with a negative comment. As I said on my recent interview on Romano Bolkovic 1 na 1, Croatians have a default mentality which is negative (of which more in a bigger article coming soon), and the saying that a Croatia can forgive you anything but success is something I have found to be very true in my experience. 

And no matter how good the story, some people will look to find the negative, even if it doesn’t exist, and waiting to see what these merchants of doom have to say is how I get some of my kicks on those lonely days online alone.

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Last week we brought you an in-depth feature on the Mayor of Bjelovar, Dario Hrebak, who made the rather unusual claim for a Croatian official – My city is corruption-free

Hrebak is certainly doing things a little differently. He was the first mayor to introduce digitalisation into his administration, the first to make transparently available all expenditures down to official lunches, slashed local tax from 12% to 6%, and reduced the size of his administration by 10%, partly as a result of the digitalisation and efficiency savings. The payroll used to take three days to do, now it takes just 3 hours. And the tax reduction seems to be stimulating something, for he reported a couple of weeks ago that the tax cut had stimulated some 250,000 extra tax revenue into Bjelovar’s coffers in the first 17 days of this year, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. 

What’s not to like about this one? I knew it wouldn’t be long until I found out. 

“This is all just PR. Hrebak is all about PR, nothing else.”

 I smiled. During our interview, the mayor had told me that this would be a reaction to anything I decided to write. His answer was that a good story attracts good PR, and the reality is in the numbers. He released more numbers today on his Facebook page

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As things stand now, it was no coincidence. Although we reduced the surtax by half, although in January 2019 it was one working day longer, we raised HRK 740 thousand more. We’ll wait for February, but right now I think we can announce another cut in June.

I can’t comment on Hrebak’s PR and how it works, as I didn’t ask, but this is how it worked in my case. I had never heard of him until a couple of weeks ago. Hearing about a mayor who was promoting digitalisation, transparency, taxation and a smaller administration in Croatia seemed a very interesting story for TCN to cover. I got his number, sent him an SMS and was in his office for an hour later, before I wrote my article Seeds of Change: My City is Corruption-Free, Claims Croatian Mayor

As the man said, a good story attracts positive PR. 

So who else would like to live in a town or city which has transparency of expenditure, digitalised services that you can access in the comfort of your own home rather than going to wait in line in an office, reduced taxes to stimulate business, and reduced expenditure on adminstration so that more can be spent on the community?

If that is something you would like, why not ask your own mayor when this level of transparency and progress will be coming to where you live?

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Maybe there is something in the water in Bjelovar, as Hrebak also announced some more good news in addition to the Bjelovar tax update – the city has the largest growth of young kids inscribed in kindergarten in the whole country. 

Now all I have to do is publish this, sit back and wait for the negative Croatian mindset to tell me why that is a bad thing. 

To follow the latest from Bjelovar, follow the dedicated TCN section


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