“The municipality of Istočno Novo Sarajevo earned 31,324 KM from parking fees last year, the Communal Police Department told SRNA,” the media announced in January 2020. Only one year later, in a municipality that records a constant influx of population caused by the accelerated construction of residential buildings throughout the municipality, they decided that it is no longer profitable for the municipal department to charge for parking.
In February 2022, the Assembly adopted the Decision on amendments to the decision on public parking lots, which stated:
“With the most favourable bidder for the selection of the utility service provider, a contract on entrusting the management of public parking lots will be concluded in accordance with this Decision, the Decision on public parking lots in the area of the municipality of Istočno Novo Sarajevo”.
The implementation of the decision adopted at the municipal assembly began immediately.
Collection work entrusted to a company without a single employee
In March, an advertisement was published on the method and conditions of selecting utility service providers for tasks of performing utility activities, that is, management of public parking lots. The ad stated that the job will be awarded through oral public bidding. In the job description of managing public parking lots, in addition to installing traffic signals and removing illegally parked vehicles and charging for parking, there are five parking spaces with a total capacity of 495 spaces. Parking prices will cost 1.5 KM/hour, 10 KM/day and 60 KM for a monthly parking ticket, and for official vehicles of the institutions of Republika Srpska based in this municipality, the monthly price is slightly lower than for ordinary citizens and is 40 KM.
It is interesting that the business of leasing the parking space was awarded to the company “Park.ing” d.o.o. Istočno Sarajevo with headquarters in Istočno Novo Sarajevo. This company, which has no employees, was founded in 2021, and the total revenue, as expected, was 0 KM.
By the way, the owner of this private company is Bojan Lukić, who is also the director of the company “ParkKing” d.o.o. Sarajevo, which in 2021 generated an income of 869,307 KM.
SPIN Info was at the spot, in Jovana Raškovića street no. 4, where the headquarters of the newly founded company “Park.ing” d.o.o. is located, but according to the inscription on the mailbox, there are also other Lukić companies. We did not find any of the workers on site. It is a former warehouse and the place where another company (WETER d.o.o.) was registered, which, according to the available data, operated for three years without success.
We also used the services of the new parking service, there is nothing on the ticket except the basic information, only the time of entry and the date of parking, and what nobody informed the citizens of Istočno Sarajevo is that on weekends the hourly parking fee is double, 3 KM, which is not stated anywhere in the official decision of the Municipal Assembly.
The question arises as to why someone would establish a company in Istočno Novo Sarajevo that deals with this activity when the competent municipal department was managing payments, and in 2021 at the very time when the proposal for a decision on public parking lots in the area of this municipality was being considered?
Director of the company “Park.ing” d.o.o. Istočno Novo Sarajevo and “Parkking” d.o.o. Sarajevo Bojan Lukić, comes from Sarajevo. It is also an interesting fact that in 2018 he was a candidate in front of the Democratic Party of BiH for the Parliament of FBiH in the general elections.
Citizens’ money in private pockets
Regardless of citizens’ dissatisfaction with the announced expansion of the parking charging zone, as well as the prices, parking has begun to be charged at one place, and work on the installation of booths and ramps at other parking areas has already begun.
“The parking fee is an additional blow to the citizens’ budget at the worst moment in the history of mankind. That says a lot about how intelligent public officials are”, believes Slobodan, who lives in the centre of the municipality, and the new decision on parking charges applies to all parking spaces around his building.
The opposition councillor in the Istočno Novo Sarajevo Municipal Assembly, Stefan Ignjatović, who voted against this way of charging for parking, believes that the councillors do not listen to the pulse of the people and that with this decision they have committed fraud by leasing a parking lot that was built with money from the municipal budget.
“Most buildings do not have a sufficient number of parking spaces as defined by law. The law said that each residential unit must have 1.1 guaranteed parking spaces, while each business space of 20m2 must have one parking space. If you pass the streets “on the plateau” (Spasovdanska and Hilandarska), you can see that most of these buildings do not have that number of parking spaces. This will only lead to an even greater collapse during parking, and will bring material damage to the citizens and a lot of nervousness in the end”, says Ignjatović and asks how it is possible to lease something that comes from citizens’ money, without there being a public debate at all regarding this topic.
We also asked the mayor of Istočno Novo Sarajevo, Jovan Katić, how a certain company was chosen and who else came forward for the auction.
“The company was selected through a public call to which three companies that met the conditions to be able to apply for the public call were registered, and two that did not submit documentation within the stipulated period. One company is from Brčko, and the other is from Prijedor or Prnjavor, I’m not sure. The public invitation was announced in accordance with the law and the decision adopted by this assembly, so I don’t see anything objectionable”, says the mayor, who only answers questions from SPIN Info journalists at press conferences, and has been ignoring our requests for information and auction records for months. The public remains to be informed on the basis of which the newly established company without income and employed workers is the winner of the auction, and on the basis of which it will manage public parking lots better than the competent utility company that has been performing this work until now. And while the announcement about the selection of the most favourable service provider was published on the municipality’s website, the records of the auction seem to be unavailable.
Why is he hiding from the public, only Chief Katić knows.
In addition, the mayor does not see anything objectionable in the fact that citizens pay parking to a private company instead of the money going to the municipal budget.
“Before, they paid into the municipality’s budget, and it turned out to be inefficient, uneconomical, the municipality recorded a loss year after year”, says Katić, adding that the municipality will earn income from the lease of parking spaces.
Empty parking lot
On the first day of charging for parking at the “largest parking lot in Republika Srpska”, as the media once wrote when a parking lot with a capacity of 350 spaces was opened, as it was said at the time, in Istočno No Sarajevo, it was completely empty, and this practice continued in the following days.
However, work is underway to close the other parking spaces leased by this company, and citizens will soon be forced to pay a private company for parking in the parking lot built with their money, because that is what those who protect their interests have decided.
Author: Sanja Vasković