Together with representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), we toured Užice and visited projects that were created through the local partnership program “Udruzimo se”, and partially financed through the MED program. The city of Užice is one of the most successful local governments in the domain of citizen participation in municipal decisions that we have worked with so far. From the very beginning of cooperation, Užice has successfully implemented all three phases of citizen participation – information, consultation and active participation.


According to the mayor of Užice PhD Jelene Raković Radivojević, Užice local partnership program “Udruzimo se” involves the involvement of as many citizens as possible in making significant decisions, as well as priorities when distributing budget funds.

“In 2018, the Town Assembly adopted the “Action plan for the inclusion of citizens in the decision-making process on the spending of funds collected based on the property tax of the city of Užice for the period 2018-2021. year” as part of the activities within the “Property Tax Reform” project, which is implemented with the support of the Swiss government. The goal is to increase tax coverage, and improve the capacity of the local tax administration, but also to involve citizens in making decisions on the spending of funds on this basis. In 2019, the budget for these purposes was 5 million dinars. “More than 400 of our fellow citizens took part in proposing 19 small projects for the improvement of public areas,” said PhD Jelene Raković Radivojević, mayor of Užice.

In 2020, the budget for these purposes was doubled to 10 million dinars with additional support of 4.5 million dinars from the “Property Tax Reform” program. More than 800 citizens proposed 31 projects. 18 project ideas were selected and implemented, said PhD Jelene Raković Radivojević, mayor of Užice.

Petar Vasilev, a representative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, pointed out that the Swiss government has a long history of cooperation with Užice, over 15 years: “Užice is an example of good practice when it comes to citizen participation, the “Udruzimo se” project is one such good example”, he stated.


According to Nataša Čorbić, an expert on good governance and citizen participation in the “Property Tax Reform” program, the “Udruzimo se” program is a very important project for the Swiss government, especially since it is already in its third year.

The Swiss government continues to work for the next four years, thanks to the experience they had in the previous phase: “We want to work intensively on the process of involving citizens. We expect the city of Užice to be one of the main partners, to come up with slightly different participation mechanisms that will eventually lead to a more significant, more attended public discussion on the decision on the budget for the next year,” said Nataša Čorbić, an expert on good governance at the program ” Property tax reform”.

Also, Užice received about 41,000 Swiss francs from this Swiss program for hiring 22 tax enumerators in the field, which resulted in increased collection of property taxes in the municipal budget.