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Mayor Zvonimir Novosel, Source: City of Jastrebarsko

Zvonimir Novosel: Our main obligation is to serve our citizens and justify their trust

Zvonimir Novosel: Our main obligation is to serve our citizens and justify their trust

An interview with the Mayor of Jastrebarsko, Croatia

Zvonimir Novosel was born on 30 October 1972 in Zagreb, where he later studied and obtained a degree from the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences. From 2001 to 2011, Novosel served as the Deputy Mayor of Jastrebarsko and in 2013, he became its Mayor.

In 2019, he spoke to TheMayor.EU, to discuss what makes Jastrebarsko special and the city’s plans for the future. (Read the full interview here.)

Now, he has revealed what he hopes to accomplish during his third term in office, following his re-election in 2021.

Mr Mayor, you were recently re-elected to serve for a third term. How has Jastrebarsko changed since you first assumed office?

Jastrebarsko has changed a lot since I started my duty in the city government of the Town of Jastrebarsko in 2001, first as Deputy Mayor, and later, since 2013, as Mayor. I believe that today the town of Jastrebarsko is a desirable place not only for the realisation of business ideas but also for pleasant family life.

However, this is not only the Mayor’s merit, or merit of just one person, but all my fellow citizens together, who follow and support us in our projects. We have carried out and guided large investments and projects, much of them financed through EU funds, and our town is nowadays much better connected in terms of traffic.

In addition, our citizens have better living conditions, considering communal and economic infrastructure and arrangement of settlements. We want to make sure that all parts of Jastrebarsko and all its residents have the same, high standard of living. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe that with strategic thinking and planning we can realize even the most demanding projects.

Our work was often valued through international recognition, starting with acknowledgements of the respectable Financial Times which declared Jastrebarsko as one of the top ten best small European cities in attracting investors and one of the cities of the future. The fact to prove our orientation to the future is that we are highly recognised for the utilisation of money from EU funds, and always trying to implement smart city ideas.

Expanding on the previous question, what do you hope to achieve during your third term?

The project that will certainly mark this term is the restoration of Erdödy Castle, which, financed through EU funds, is worth about EUR 10 million. This will bring new opportunities and position Jastrebarsko much better on the scale of continental tourist destinations.

We are currently implementing the largest project in the history of Jastrebarsko, which includes the upgrade of the water supply system, the upgrade and reconstruction of the sewage system, as well as the wastewater treatment system in the whole area of the town of Jastrebarsko.

Nevertheless, there are some vitally important projects that need to be governed from a higher level, and I hope that they will finally come to turn. I sincerely believe that this can be the term where there will be will and possibilities for the State and Zagreb County to finally start big projects, important for the citizens of Jastrebarsko.

We hope that the reconstruction of the railway and railway station, as well as the construction of the important overpasses will finally get their opportunity. I also want to believe that Zagreb County will finally start the project of building a new primary school and bypass road. We will deal with introducing modern and practical public transport, invest in the preliminary preparations for the project of renovating the main town square, new kindergarten, and risk management centre.

Jastrebarsko is a small town with just about 15,000 inhabitants. How does the municipality encourage young people to stay and prevent the decline of the population?

We are trying to provide all the conditions for the quality of life of our citizens and be a city tailored to families. Additionally, to keep young families, the Town offers a number of incentives for preschool and schoolchildren and creates a family-friendly infrastructure.

This year, we have increased benefits for children, as a follow-up to the measure taken last year, increasing subsidies for nannies by 100%. The preparation of the project for the new kindergarten is in progress, it will be built at the Fairgrounds, and we will certainly take care that it is equipped with the most modern equipment and that it provides an even higher standard for our children.

In addition, we are one of the very few local governments that will provide free sanitary pads for our students, as one of many social measures that we take.

As a mayor with nearly a decade of experience, what advice would you give to other European leaders?

Our main obligation is to serve our citizens and justify their given trust. We need to be brave and never give up on our promises and projects that are of vital importance to our environment. We have to be aware that big things never come overnight, but where there is a will, there will always be a way.

Jastrebarsko can be a great example. Since I first started my public duty, I have been dreaming of the restoration of Erdödy Castle. More than 20 years later, this is the year when the first shovels will be laid. This is a good indicator for our future projects and strategies. Being brave, patient, and persistent will always come out right!

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