The year 2020 is coming to an end. She was anything but ordinary. The Year started very actively in Zvornik. The Mayor visited the first born baby, a reception was organized on the occasion of the Day of Republika Srpska, St. Sava’s Week, St. Sava’s Ball, and sports workers from Zvornik for 2019 were elected. A state of emergency was declared in March, and the world began a battle with the corona virus.
- We organized the first meeting of the expert team in Zvornik on March 15, and later the City Headquarters for Emergency Situations. We were like most surprised and did not know what to expect. We thought that the most important thing was to follow the instructions of the Republic Headquarters and adjust the measures to the situation on the ground.
The city of Zvornik did not have many people infected with the corona virus in the first three months of the pandemic.
- Yes, in the first three months we organized life in the area of Zvornik the best we knew. We started volunteer service, psychological counseling, established quarantine space, regular disinfection of urban and suburban areas. Everything worked with more or less stress. Then, in June, there was a sharp deterioration of the situation and a larger number of infected people. We changed the way we fight the virus in accordance with the recommendations of higher instances. We did nothing on our own. And realistically, even though the pandemic is still going on, we fought pretty well. For everything done and what follows in the future, great gratitude goes to all our medical workers of the Health Center and the Hospital who have borne the greatest burden. The most important thing is to save the lives of citizens and, of course, the economy. Because what do we do if people lose their jobs? How will families live on?
Most of the planned events were not organized or were held in a modified form. How did you manage to balance the situation with the pandemic and the normal life flows in the city?
- Already in May, Zvornik celebrated its City Day. We have decided not to organize a city awards ceremony or side events, of which we have at least five each year. The decision was in line with preventive measures to restrain the spread of the coronavirus. And I don’t think we’ve lost anything if we don’t have a ceremony for a year. After that, instead of organizing the Zvornik Summer, we redirected funds for various activities to repair the consequences of the pandemic. Respecting all the measures, we received the best students of primary and secondary schools, we hung out with the first-graders, visited the new preparatory class in settlement Ulice, for the first day of school we provided a puppet show on the plateau in front of the music school.
In the meantime, construction works on most of the started projects have been carried out, but at a somewhat slower pace. What is the situation with capital investments?
- Only construction as a part of the economy did not suffer a major blow in this pandemic. The works were carried out, but at a somewhat slower pace due to different sets of circumstances. Exactly one year later, the reconstruction of the bridge of King Alexander I Karadjordjevic was completed. We have started reconstructions on the building of the Health Center in Zvornik, an ambulance in Branjevo, the construction of a new block of the Hospital has begun, the regulation of the Sapna riverbed has been completed, a part of the bank fortification in the City, we are starting the construction of the Hoca river fortification, tens of kilometers of new local roads. We started projects for the completion of the sewerage system in the settlement of Branjevo and the Lokanj-Pilica water supply system. We have also started the construction of a housing facility for refugees and displaced persons from the socially endangered category of the population. The Government of the Republika Srpska has transferred the ownership of the business zone Jadar to the City of Zvornik, which enables us to improve the business potentials of the city. A lot has been done in this 2020, regardless of the fact that it was turbulent and extraordinary in many ways.
Projects worth millions have been started, the realization of which will be completed in a few years. How much does the City of Zvornik invest in the mentioned projects?
- The City of Zvornik invests in all projects, depending on the requirements of investors or donors. We finished the King Alexander Bridge thanks to the majority funds of the Government of Republic of Serbia, but the City of Zvornik also participated with more than 700,000 BAM. We are also working on the hospital with funds from the Government of the Republic of Srpska, the Government of Serbia and the City of Zvornik. The Health Center is another investment in which the City budget also invests. The City may not directly invest finances in the bank fortification and arrangement of the riverbed, but we are obliged to resolve property-legal relations. As for the project of completing the sewerage network and treatment plant in the settlement of Branjevo, we are obliged to bear the costs of works, land and connections for the treatment plant, and everything else such as equipment worth several million BAM is provided by the Czech Development Agency. In 2020 alone, more than 15,000,000 BAM were invested in various projects. Our budget, regardless of everything, is developmental as soon as we can participate in such investments. And donors are the best sign of whether we are doing well or not, because serious institutions and donor countries will not invest where they do not see the willingness and good work of the other side.
In addition to the state of emergency, 2020 can be said to have been marked by altruism and the awakening of humanity among the people.
- In Zvornik businessmen were the first to get involved in the process of procuring additional medical equipment. Citizens have become active, especially the young, to help those in isolation and older fellow citizens. One of our fellow citizens who live abroad decided to build a gym in his hometown – settlement Tršić. The city accepted its share of work in that situation as well. From the budget, funds were redirected to those categories that are most endangered and most in need. I think this situation with the corona virus shook us all a little and made us think. Life is essentially unpredictable and that is why we must always find each other.
Local elections were also held in emergency conditions. The campaign was shortened, and it was very difficult to implement activities. Despite everything, you have achieved one of the best results in BiH.
- Our focus in the campaign was the citizen. Respecting all preventive measures, protecting both themselves and the citizens, the campaign in Zvornik was carried out by all political entities in the most responsible way. I think that in the previous period I did my job responsibly and conscientiously, and the citizens recognized that and confirmed with their vote my leader position in Zvornik for another four years. These elections will be remembered as something very unusual and as a great challenge, to which we responded adequately.
Culture is perhaps most threatened by the current situation. Is the culture in Zvornik resisting the pandemic strikes?
- We tried through various activities to maintain at least habits among citizens. When the Youth Center and the National Library were allowed to work again, they realized numerous activities. Most may have been for children, but we had activities. Despite the corona virus, we hosted the International Film Festival “First Shot”, within which various workshops were organized. We also had the premiere of Darko Bajić’s film “Name of the People” before Belgrade and Banja Luka. We procured a new projector for the Youth Center and enabled the citizens to have, again respecting all preventive measures, screenings of the latest films every day. There was also a promotion of books, exhibitions of paintings. True, it would have been better if there were more, but given the overall situation in the world, we are holding up well.
Every day we listen to messages: to be careful, to be responsible, and to take care of each other. What is your message for entering into 2021?
- Be responsible. I think responsibility is the key to everything. And if we are all responsible for our actions, it will be much easier for us to overcome adversity, even this one with a virus. It is important to preserve health, both physically and mentally, to preserve the family and the economy, which is the basis of our lives. In the New Year, I wish you health above all, more work, children and every well-being.