Split City Council Votes in Favour of Buying an Overpriced Company

Total Croatia News

One wonders whether anything will be left in the city after Baldasar’s reign

Be careful what you wish for, that is a saying we’ve often repeated in the last three years because most of us thought it would be hard to find a mayor worse than Željko Kerum. Until Ivo Baldasar came along. One of the journalists following Baldasar’s work very closely is Damir Petranović from Dalmatinski Portal, and with his permission, we give you his latest column published on March 23, 2016, explaining the latest dubious decisions adopted by Split City Council. Let us just get you up to speed, city council voted in favour of buying HVIDRA, a company owned by a Veteran’s association for 5 million kuna, without a proper due diligence, despite the fact that the company has no assets whatsoever and is, at most, worth 3 million because of its current concessions. But we’ll let Damir tell you the whole story about the newest jewel from Baldasar’s neverending collection.


Damir Petranović, columnist, Dalmatinski portal


City Council in their ‘Mission Parking’: when they run out of money, expect them in front of your door

In a few months, probably just over a year from now – after the local elections and after the City Council building in Banovina is filed with a new contingent of people freed from any pressure of going out to the voting polls, we can expect to see paid parking from Riva all the way to Mejaši. In every street, in every free oasis, every bit of asphalt that was designed to fit the needs of surrounding apartment buildings and their residents, expect new traffic signs and brigades of parking controllers in blue uniforms.

And when, tired and crazy from the constant frantic search for a parking space, you start complaining about the latest city fee – which, of course, will not increase our standard or help with the traffic jams – and when you figure out that you won’t be able to rely on public transport either, you should know under whose window to go in order to complain. You should go to almost every single member of the Split City Council, and since there is just too many of them, I will only list their parties: SDP, HNS, HDZ, HGS and HČSP (Pametno voted against, just so there’s no mistake).

They all voted in favour of founding a new city communal company “Split parking”, purchase of “Hvidra” company with accompanying parking spaces (which belong to the city anyway) and in favour of taking away the only serious source of income and the only feasible segment from the city public transport company “Promet”. In short, they have just created a monster that will brutalise Split residents and their wallets for years to come.

Not just directly on the spot, but also through the city budget from which tens of millions of kuna will be withdrawn for this new operation. With this money alone the city could have built 10 decent public garages, but, in that case, there would be no room for massive employment, public money spending and a rude insult to the intelligence of ordinary citizens.

The night before the big decision, meetings were held in all party headquarters: SDP members heavy heartedly decided to stand by Baldasar and showed that their recent vote against the higher city tax which was explained as proof that they actually care about public interest, was nothing more than a cliché.  Within the HDZ headquarters they almost split in half but in the end, they decided that the interest of the veteran’s population (since they own HVIDRA) should overpower sanity and economic logic. Željko Kerum, in his famous fashion, decided that the purchase of Hvidra makes no sense but was too lazy to attend the City council assembly and sent Jure Šundov to decide for him.  

The most influential media were paraphrased and preventively taught not to question these decisions but instead to jump on the promotional train. Which they did.

The resume of yesterday’s City Council action can fit into a few sentences. The City of Split purchased a company it previously saved twice using millions of public money, a company it could have taken over for free in the pre-bankruptcy settlement, but instead decided to cash out 5 million kunas for it. The City purchased a company with no assets apart from a short-term concession over city parking lots and the illegal use of State-owned ones.  And, as dowry, the city got 120 people employed by this company. Furthermore, it purchased a company of unknown value even though the informative assessment by a company owned by Davor Slišković was used as a smokescreen. This is a company that is millions in debt and it would not be worth anything if it weren’t for the City’s good will which makes the explanation that it could be worth ‘anything from 2 to 30 million kunas’ on the market even more hilarious.

If that wasn’t enough, next item on the ‘menu’ was Promet, city public transport company whose parking spaces were hijacked in the previous topic, liberating about a hundred workers that will now be ‘parked’ within Split Parking. This is a move we will pay for with additional millions bringing the annual cost of our inefficient, irregular and overall miserable public transport to a respectable sum of 50 million kunas. In years to come, this amount can only grow, and that is if this patient lives that long.     

In the end, all this will be poured into a new City company even though we already have one that is called ‘Splitska obala’ which was formed to, you guessed it, manage the city parking lots. But the operation had to be justified somehow so it was very interesting to see Luka Podrug, a council member who built his entire career on calling upon the veteran’s population, explaining that this is not a social at but a good business decision. On the other hand, Hrvoje Marušić from HDZ, avid promoter of the open market and defender of entrepreneurial rights explained that he ‘supports this decision because it involves a social component but will tune out if they start talking about any economic logic’.

What an interesting way of resonating things: not so long ago he was explaining that a children’s playground on Trstenik has to be paid for by someone and today he is participating in the construction of a giant playground for veterans.

With its 290+ employees, there is no doubt that ‘Split parking’ will not function well and will hardly be feasible, at least not in current circumstances, but there is always a solution. When they run out of money for paychecks, expect new ramps and parking metres in front of your door.  






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