Tiny village running out of money

Lestijärvi Municipal Hall Credit: Santeri Viinamäki CC

It seems that Finland’s smallest municipality, Lestijärvi in Central Ostrobothnia is facing major financial difficulties.

Municipality in crisis

Having a population of just 680 people, it has suffered an investigation to see whether central government considers that it has so many problems that it should be declared a ‘municipality in crisis’.

Basically it is required to be able to demonstrate that it can comply with the law with regards to the range of services that it offers to its residents but with a current deficit of €2.7 million and a record of consistent losses, it seems likely to fail the test.

Borrowings of €15,588 per resident

According to YLE News it has borrowings of €10.6 million which is the equivalent of €15,588 per resident of whom many will be too young or too old to be earning and it has announced that it will put on unpaid leave all of its staff members over the next three winters in order to save money.

Baby bonus

This is the village that was so worried about depopulation, (a problem in many rural parts of Finland), that 12 years ago it offered a €10,000 ‘baby bonus’ to every couple that had a child.

41 babies were born over the following four years at a cost to the council of €410,000 but it’s a very long term solution to a pressing problem with no guarantee that the babies who were born will stay in the municipality when they grow up.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing newsdesk@euroweeklynews.com, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EuroWeeklyNews


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