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Parliamentary committee endorses Zagreb reconstruction bill

Zagreb after the big earthquake (Photo credit: HINA/ Tomislav PAVLEK)

ZAGREB, Sept 1 (Hina) – The parliamentary Physical Planning and Reconstruction Committee on Tuesday endorsed a bill on the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs following the March 22 earthquake with nine votes for and three abstentions, and the bill will be debated in the Sabor on Wednesday.

The final draft bill for the reconstruction of buildings damaged by the quake in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorjre and Zagreb counties regulates a model of financing the reconstruction of the building structure according to which the government will finance 60%, local government will finance 20% and property owners will finance 20%.

After the bill was sent to second reading, social criteria were incorporated, introducing an assets test according to which reconstruction will be entirely financed by the government for owners on a minimum wage who do not own any significant assets.

The bill also stipulates mortgages to be imposed on part of the property in order to differentiate owners who meet their obligations related to financing part of the reconstruction from those who do not, the state-secretary in the construction ministry, Dunja Magas explained.

The bill, among other things, provides for possible financial assistance for emergency repairs to stairways.

Tomasevic: Still a lot of vagueness

Even though the bill is a lot more detailed now, Tomislav Tomasevic (We Can) said that it still contained a lot of vagueness and announced more than 20 amendments.

He added that data about the number of buildings damaged in the bill’s reasoning and data that city authorities have are different. According to Zagreb city authorities, 19,000 buildings were damaged whereas the bill notes 24,000, which is a difference of 20 percent he said.

Zvane Brumnic (SDP) said that it was sad that HRK 40 to 60 billion would be invested in reconstruction yet there is no step forward in Zagreb’s development.

He added that if disabled Homeland War veterans are to be exempt from financing reconstruction, then all disabled persons should be treated equally. 

The bill regulates that the state and local government will cover the full costs of reconstruction for poorer residents in Zagreb and two neighbouring counties whose homes were damaged in the earthquake

This means that property owners whose monthly income last year did not exceed HRK 4,000 per each member of the household and who did not have assets valued at more than HRK 200,000 on the day of the earthquake will be exempt from covering 20% of the costs of reconstruction of their damaged homes.

The full cost of reconstruction will be covered for all Homeland War disabled veterans and beneficiaries of welfare benefits.

A special Reconstruction Fund will be established and will implement the reconstruction as well as collect funds for reconstruction. It will be a sort of One Stop Shop for citizens affected by the earthquake.

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