Moody’s raises Tallinn’s credit rating
Rating agency Moody’s has raised Tallinn rating from A3 to A2 due to a significantly improved budgetary position. Moody’s expects the city’s operating profits to increase. The rating agency also indicated the city’s debts are at a moderate level.
Tallinn’s acting mayor Taavi Aas acknowledged the international rating agency’s move as showing the city financial services were working well and the city was financially stable.
“Short-term debt will still possibly grow a little, because of special projects, there is no point to shut down because of too much free money,” Aas said.
Moody’s evaluation is Tallinn can maintain its expenses and grow its liquid reserves which the agency believes represent a considerable buffer to any financial turbulence in the future.
Tallinn chosen as a finalist in “Europe Green capital” competition
Tallinn was amongst five cities chosen as European Green City for 2019.
Tallinn’s strengths are free public transport, public transport network, pedestrian walkways in the city centre, bicycle rental, courtyards and protected areas.
Deputy Mayor, Arvo Sarapuu explained that Tallinn is a green city in the proper sense of the word. He said Tallinn has seven forest parks in Nõmme, the Paljassaare Natura 2000 bird sanctuary and Merimetsa park nature sanctuary.
“It isn’t always a question of money and millions of euros of big investments. It is preferential to also have, in the city, a lot of small but smart things which we can learn from,” Sarapuu said.
The other finalists are the Finnish city Lahti, the Norwegian capital Oslo, the Belgium city Ghent and Portuguese capital Lisbon.
“We have stiff competition,” Sarapuu said.
“Ghent is well-known as a large flower festival city and this has been celebrated by all from kings to paupers. Oslo has dug tunnels outright under the city centre and traffic has disappeared from the centre of the city. These five cities have frantically developed their environment and this is widely known.”
The five finalists must by 31st May give a presentation, which will be viewed by diverse experts from many difference fields and by representatives of European Union institutions.
The contest has given the city a chance to develop its international relationships, develop environmentally themed seminars, and participate in European city environmental organisations.
Tallinn Environment Department manager, Relo Ligi, explained winning depends, in a large part, on the marketing plan.
“On the one hand, we want decision-makers to know, how the European Green Capital brand markets the city, at the same time seminars are a chance for the city to advertise itself and this work brings tourists,” he said.
City official cautioned that there were challenges.
“Tallinn is shaped like a bowtie which means congestion in the heart of the city,” Sarapuu explained.
“Tallinn must be like a beauty contestant, which shows what it has accomplished positive things,” explained Ligi.
“Tallinn must be a green city representative who carries forward the message of the competition. We must defend our application and answer questions bravely.”
A win would mean Tallinn would host the 2020 European Green Capital competition and choose the next representative. The winner will be announced on 2nd June by the current European Green Capital, Essen in Germany.
Kaarli Church organ gets continued support from the city
Estonia’s largest church organ is to receive a further 50,000 Euros from capital for reconstruction works.
The Walcker church organ was built in 1923 and is currently the biggest organ in Estonia. The organ has a special place in the hearts of both congregation and visitors to the church since it is the only complete Walcker organ from this period in existence.
Organist, Piret Aidulo, explained why the organ has an important place as part of Europe’s culture heritage.
“Playing the organ has been part of worship since 1863. Furthermore, the organ has an important place in different concerts, not only for big form but also for Chamber musical productions,” said Aidulo.
Renovation work began in 2016 and will go through seven different stages and will take altogether three years. Renovation works in total will cost 250,000 Euros and the work will be carried out by local organ master firm Toomas Mäevali.
Last year the first two stages of the renovation were carried out at a cost of 80,000 euros. The third stage was started last year and is ongoing.
Walcker organ was built in 1923 in Ludwigsburg Württemberg E.F. Walcker & Co factory and bears the opus number 2011. The first presentation of the new organ was at the young factory, which upon release had a strong influence on the national musical culture. The instrument, therefore, had to have powerful and colourful acoustics which artistically was at the highest level. Tallinn deputy mayor Mihhail Kõlvart noted that since Tallinn is celebrating 500 years since the Reformation, support for the protestant holy place is especially poignant.
“It is a pleasure for the city to support one of Estonia’s biggest Lutheran congregations and renovate the organ,” Kõlvart said.
“Kaarli church is a temple of faith, spirituality and culture, which can refresh the soul both in traditional religious services and concerts. Also, it contributes to the educational life of the capital through the congregational kindergartens and school.”
Get ready for Tallinn’s positive programme interactive Map app
Tallinn city has prepared an interactive map for Tallinn positive programme 2014-2018.
The application can be found on Tallinn’s home page (www.tallinn.ee), all citizens, resident’s associations, and MGO can present proposals to the positive programme.
“Tallinn positive program was the first successfully carried out, elective programme in Estonia. It gave the city’s civil servants invaluable experience in developing relationships with their constituents,” said city council’s deputy Lauri Laats.
The council’s innovation commission made a proposal to have positive programme details also on an interactive card.
“Since Tallinn positive programme is put together by the citizens, we must make results easily and quickly available to the citizens,” Laats said.