Jurmala Mayor Gatis Truksnis and chairman of the Local Governments Union Andris Jaunsleinis festively opened the reconstructed Kauguri boiler house in June. It cost EYR 6.5 million. EUR 3.5 million was borrowed by Jurmala City Council and EUR 2.6 million was attracted from European structure funds. Investment and Development Agency of Latvia provided this money under the condition that the boiler house in Jurmala would use environmental-friendly fuel.
But even before the boiler house was finished, Truksnis ordered the head of Jurmalas Siltums Zigurds Strarks to sign a contract with some private company for the procurement of heating energy. Such a contract would have made all investments into to boiler house pointless. Starks did not sign the contract and lost his job in Jurmalas Siltums. He recalls that representatives of the private company were very insistent and offered payments not covered by the law. Starks allows that offers were also proposed to Truksnis and the new management in Jurmalas Siltums.
In order to ensure legal ground for the procurement of heating energy from a private company, Jurmalas Siltums had attempted to artificially increase prices for wood chips, Starks said. «At the moment, wood chips in Latvia cost EUR 8-9 per m3. And they procure this fuel for a price of EUR 11.9. This is why they say the current boiler house is non-competitive just to show what good a job they have done, saying that some regions procure for EUR 18. Even though we can produce for EUR 18 ourselves,» – he said.
LIAA manager Andris Ozols admits that if the company decides not to produce heat, the agency will request Jurmala City Council to return Europe’s millions. The contract with the private company has yet to be signed, but the letter of intent, which provides for the commencement of procurement of heating energy as soon the private company has the technical ability to do accommodate it, has been signed. If someone other than Truksnis is chosen as mayor, it will be possible to refuse the signing of this contract.
The second mega-project the city council intends to finish is the reconstruction of Lielupe School. In order to realize this project, the city council has even legally merged two education institutions – Lielupe and Kauguri schools. The reconstruction of Lielupe School is estimated to cost EUR 16 million. The municipality does not have that kind of money. There are plans to borrow this amount from a bank.
«We cannot support such a massive reconstruction with such costs. They are unjustifiably high. Along with money from the European Union, they reach nearly EUR 18 million. This is an enormous amount. During the council meeting it was mentioned that Skonto būve won the procurement,» – said Jurmala City Council deputy Arnis Abelite.
This project is not yet finished. During one of the last meetings, deputies who did not support Truksnis voted against the school’s reconstruction. Deputy Karina Sinkevica (Harmony) will help Truksnis finish those projects. She was the one who, in accordance with her party’s decision, initially voted in favour of Truksnis’ dismissal. A week later, however, she decided to vote in favour of him being restored in his post.
Late in the evening on Thursday, the Green Party organized a meeting in Cotton Club in Jurmala. Truksnis’ supporters came as well. They agreed to request Green Party’s council to cancel the decision to dismiss Truknis from the party, because Truksnis is allegedly a good mayor who realizes projects beneficial to the city.