January 3, 2021 – While 2020 was a terrible year for most, there were plenty of success stories in Croatia. For some, such as the business-friendly Bjelovar Mayor, Dario Hrebak, it was the most successful year in his city’s history.
It is almost a year since I wrote the most unlikeliest of titles in the modern Croatia – Seeds of Change: My City is Corruption-Free, Claims Croatian Mayor.
Bjelovar Mayor Dario Hrebak appeared to be a mayor with a different agenda than the ones I was used to in local politicians – lining their pockets, rewarding party loyalists and cousins with the top jobs, and using the position to maintain the status quo rather than working for the citizens of the town.
Reducing the number of people in his administration to make it more efficient (never a vote winner), slashing local business taxes to encourage investment, and digitising the system to make it more efficient and user-friendly. Not things one was sadly accustomed to in public administration in Croatia.
The pandemic has prevented me from taking a more active interest in Bjelovar on the ground this year, but we have been following progress from afar.
The Bjelovar mayor has always been very communicative on social media, and his latest post on Facebook today hails not only the opening of the first McDonalds (and accompanying 40 jobs) in his city, but also the fact that his policies seems to be working – he claims that 2020 was the most successful year in the history of Bjelovar, and that there is more to come in 2021:
For years we have been building Bjelovar as ′′business-friendly”, a city with one of the best business environments in Croatia, where the entrepreneurial kuna is valued more than in most other cities in Croatia. McDonald’s opened today in Bjelovar. The investment, greater than 2 million euros, was implemented within a short period of only a few months. 40 new employees will have jobs, and this investment is proof that Bjelovar has become a desirable destination for many investors. The city that abolishes its taxes, quickly issues all necessary permits, reduces public administration and makes it more efficient, I’m sure there will be targets and new manufacturing investments.
(Site of the new McDonalds in Bjelovar – before and after)
All entrepreneurs and investments are welcome to our Bjelovar, and the competition encourages us to be better, faster and more agile.
And to finish, some more good news, despite the crisis, we have completed one of the more demanding years in which after 20 years we abolished the apparatus, exempted payment entrepreneurs and other taxes and compensation so that they could keep their jobs, and on the other hand by implementing a budget of about 250 million kunas, this is the most successful year in the history of our city! Happy new year 2021. to us!
I’m convinced it will be even more successful!
You can follow the latest from Bjelovar in the dedicated TCN section.