Mayor of Municipality of Prnjavor Darko Tomaš, in an interview for our portal, talking about the results achieved since he was the Mayor of this municipality, implemented projects, tourism, but also about the measures he takes to stop the departure of young people from that municipality.
TST: Two years ago you stated that if you will elected for Mayor of Prnjavor, your priorities will be economically strong Prnjavor, the future of Prnjavor based on young people and the socially responsible Prnjavor. How much have you managed to accomplish till today and are you satisfied with the achievement?
TOMAŠ: When the citizens gave us their trust, we said, and it has become our guiding thought, that we wouldn’t give promises we couldn’t keep and that we would plan our activities realistically. I personally consider that we have done a great deal of all that we have promised in the beginning. I’m satisfied, but I’m always setting bigger goals ahead of myself and there is still a lot of work to be done. We at the local government are ready and determined to fulfill all the promises we have made and to achieve our goals, so that Prnjavor would become a place of better, high-quality life. To achieve this, we have to continue working together, because the development of Prnjavor and realization of projects which are important for our municipality and its residents is our common interest. It is up to us to use all the strength and potential of young people to achieve economic progress and create an environment in which education, expertise, creativity and creative ability represent the basic foundation of society values. Building a highway and developing a business and tourist zone lead to the economy growth, with tax rates being reduced to a minimum. Building and reconstructing of the infrastructure makes our municipality look better and more modern from day to day. We take care of the young people and their overall progress, because we are aware that without the young educated people with a developed and strong spirit there won’t be a better future. That is why we have doubled the student scholarships from the start, and we have also introduced certain benefits for students. Determined to improve agricultural production, we have increased the agricultural incentives. We take care of athletes, pensioners, war veterans and socially vulnerable population. And I sincerely believe that we are on the right path to achive all the goals we have set before ourselves, and that is economically powerful and socially responsible Prnjavor, with a future based on the young people. And we would like to welcome all those who share the same goals as we do.
TST: Which are the most significant projects that were implemented in the municipality of Prnjavor?
TOMAŠ: With the construction of the capital road, the Banja Luka – Doboj highway, Prnjavor was given a great development opportunity, primarily in the business and tourist zone. This project obliged us to make our municipality even more attractive for the investors, because Prnjavor is going to profit a great deal from the business zone and will have a lot of benefits. Back in 2010, when the highway construction became certain, we set up a business and tourist area in Prnjavor on the exit route from the highway as our objective. Following this ambitious plan, we resolved the property and legal relations and adopted key assembly decisions and regulations, which paved the path for the realization of this project. That includes 120 construction lots, each covering 10,000 square meters. The entrepreneurs can now get into possession of the lot under very favorable conditions and build production and other capacities. The five investors who have recognized the values of the location and the conditions offered by the local government, and bought the building lots, confirm this. As the mayor of the municipality, I can say with pride and confidence that with more than fifty multi-million projects already completed and large number of the started ones in the past two and a half years, the Prnjavor Municipality is considered to be one of the largest construction sites of Republika Srpska! Up till now more than 7 million BAM have been invested in the infrastructural projects. I will mention only some of them which have been already realized. The construction of the new Music School has been completed, sidewalks in five streets have been built, as well as the tens of kilometers of asphalt in the urban and rural areas. The narrow town center has been specially decorated, along with the fundamental reconstruction of the main street and lighting of the Trg srpskih boraca. Large number of urban settlements and streets got the lightening, as well as the village settlements. More than one million BAM have been invested into a complete renovation of five schools, and the long-standing problem of a new cemetary has been solved, along with the macadam road asphalting, parking and lighting. A lot of residential buildings and production facilities have been built, and the modern newly-built roundabout has not only facilitated traffic, but has also made the entrance to our town more beautiful. Another building for the war veterans has been constructed, and, to the general satisfaction, the apartments were given to their owners and users in the presence of the President of Republika Srpska – Željka Cvijanović. Currently, one of the focal points is the complete reconstruction of Vida Nježića Street with the total cost of 1.030.000 KM, and we are also starting the construction of a new roundabout. The proximity of the railway, the border crossings and the amenities we offer suggests that Prnjavor is becoming one of the most promising investment spots. Prnjavor has also won the FIFA GOAL project which will provide money for the construction of a new 300,000 BAM worth stadium, and which will, I believe, become place of gathering for the young athletes, not just from Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but from the entire region. Of course, many of these projects could not be actualized without an excellent cooperation with the republic authorities, and that is why I would like to thank the President of Republika Srpska and the Government of Republika Srpska, because the total joint investment of the municipality, the republic, and the entrepeneurs in the development of the Prnjavor Municipality can be measured in the tens of millions of marks.
TST: What are the tourism potentials that can lead to the development and improvement of the situation in that municipality?
TOMAŠ: Among the primary tasks of the local administration are the enrichment and stronger promotion of tourist offer. From the tourist point of view, the Municipality of Prnjavor possesses a wealth of tourist potential and here we can single out several tourist sites, one of the most complex ones being spa and recreational center Banja Kulaši. It is only 14 kilometers from the town center, and it has been a well-known health resort since the Austro-Hungarian period. Its long-standing tradition is based on the thermomineral water springs which are extremely healing. It is important to note that there are only three such water springs in Europe. Recently, Banja Kulaši has been completely reconstructed and restored, and now it is an extremely modern complex with top service which represents one of the European tourist potentials. Prnjavor can also boast of the richness of its cultural and historical heritage. The log cabin church in Palačkovci represents a kind of cultural monument dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul, and is entirely made of oak wood. Due to its building and aesthetic value, it was placed under the state protection in the old Yugoslavia. There is also one of the oldest companies and another priceless fortune of the municipality, the Vučijak Lipizzaner stud farm. The Ukrina River with its rich fish basin and mills that surround it, as well as Drenova Lake, are certainly good basis for development of fishing and tourist potential. The Ukrina River is well-known for the phenomenon of “flowering of water”, and Drenova Lake was proclaimed hunting grounds because of the exceptional prerequisites for fishing, its clean water and preserved nature. We can also brag about the forest complex that has always represented the invaluable wealth and great tourist potential of the municipality. Another specific feature of this area is the ethnic diversity due to the presence of a large number of people and nationalities living here, which is why Prnjavor is also known as the “Little Europe”. All in all, Prnjavor has a large number of attractive and interesting natural beauty, lakes, hunting grounds, spas, and mountains, which will now be much better connected. All we need now is to make a good plan and strongly embark on the development of this area.
TST: What exactly does Prnjavor Municipality take to open up to young people and create conditions for their full engagement, and to stop the migration of young people from Prnjavor and Republika Srpska, too?
TOMAŠ: We are aware of the current situation and the fact that young people are leaving this area. However, through stimulus measures and various programs, we strive to reduce and change this trend in our municipality as much as possible. I have previously stressed, and that is the fact, that young people are the foundation, and that without the strong young people, our future has no prosperity. The measures we take to improve the conditions for our youth and create better opportunities for their full engagement, relate to several areas, primarily through the family. By granting one-time financial assistance to families for the birth of the third and every next child, we strive to provide support for the parents and thus stimulate as many young married couples as possible to make the decision to extend their family. In that sense, we also help young couples through co-financing of the artificial insemination attempts, and by financing various manifestations, such as the “Baby Conference”, we are trying to promote population policy. We also tend to provide support through education, student scholarships, awarding prizes to the gifted and successful students of both elementary and high school, as well as the prizes for the best students. We grant one-time financial aid to students for schooling, trainings and competitions. We are doing our best to improve and enhance school infrastructure. I have to mention one more time that in the last two and a half years five schools of our municipality have been completely renovated and reconstructed. Prnjavor is also known for its top athletes. Through different sports initiatives, sponsorship of sports club activities, financial assistance to the competition of individuals and clubs, and sport events financing, we strive to provide support to our young athletes. Similiarly, in the field of agriculture all the young residents of the Prnjavor Municipality up to 35 years old, who are owners of agricultural holdings and beneficiaries of agricultural subsidies, have the right to stimulus increased by 10%. Through the employment incentives in the economy and various programs such as the “Partnership for Quality Jobs and Competitiveness” project, we tend to provide maximum support to our citizens, all in order to help as many young people as possible to find a job and employment in their municipality.
Author: Danka Savić