The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » Monthly - November 22, 2002
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A Success Story
Can Bielsko-Biała's second-place finish among cities at the county level in Poland be considered a success?

The answer to this and many other questions can be found in Paweł Swianiewicz's article The Success of the Ending Term, published in Wspólnota weekly. According to Swianiewicz, a professor at Warsaw University's European Institute of Regional and Local Development, the definition of the term "local success" encompasses the following three dimensions of success: financial, economic and infrastructural. Financial success is measured by two indicators: first, the total budgetary income increment, and second, the local government's own income increment per capita. Economic success is determined by the increase in the number of registered businesses and foreign capital companies, a drop in unemployment in the county, and the increase in returns from corporate and personal income tax. Infrastructural success is gauged by increases in the length of local roads with improved surfaces, the number of residents connected to a sewage treatment plant, a gas network, and sewer system as well as increases in the usable area of apartments built in 1998-2000. The sum of the three components, financial, economic and infrastructural, makes up the joint value of the local success indicator, and is a measure of progress in the commune.

The table presented in the article embraces 25 county-level municipalities. It is topped by Sopot, followed by Bielsko-Biała and accompanied by only two other cities from Silesia province: Gliwice, ranking as fourth and Rybnik at position 22. According to Swianiewicz, this comes as no surprise, as both Bielsko-Biała and Gliwice are known for their fast growth, an opinion shared by many earlier rankings and classifications. In 2000 and 2001, Bielsko-Biała found itself among First Class cities in terms of development potential in the ranking run by the Regional Research Center (CBR).

The results were published in Rzeczpospolita. The assessment of local development potential is based on general economic development indicators, the level of investment in local infrastructure, and the quality of infrastructure. The opinions of residents, measured by their influx and outflow in recent years, are also taken into consideration. In a ranking of investment attraction published in January 2001, the Gdańsk Institute for Market Economics (IBnGR) placed Bielsko-Biała third among the ranking's 31 urban counties.

Investment attraction is composed of factors such as the depth of the local market, quality of the labor market, social climate, costs of business activity, technical infrastructure, business environment infrastructure, accessibility in terms of transportation, effectiveness of economic changes, recreational opportunities and marketing activities. Bielsko-Biała ranked equally high-fourth in 2000 and sixth in 2001-among the 21 cities classified in the City Guide Polska ranking, presenting investment opportunities in Poland's largest cities. The ranking encompasses a general assessment of the business climate, the competence and effectiveness of city administration and the quality of municipal infrastructure, the business environment, labor market and life.

The article also presents ranking tables for province capitals, topped by Warsaw; county capitals, led by Piaseczno from Mazovia province; and small towns, headed by Łomianki, also in Mazovia province. Notably, among small Silesian towns, the highest positions are mainly occupied by those from the Bielsko-Biała region: Ustroń, Szczyrk and Wilamowice. In terms of smaller local government units, the number of tourist communes located in the Beskidy Mountains, including Brenna, Istebna and Szczyrk and Ustroń, is striking. Sucha Beskidzka, Maków Podhalański, Jordanów, Zawoja and Budzów, a micro-region linked with Bielsko-Biała through membership in the Beskidy Region association and in the Beskidy Euroregion, also occupy high rankings. Both organizations are developing and play an increasingly greater role in the Polish/Czech/Slovak borderland.

Bielsko-Biała has maintained a leading position in rankings despite losing, as of Jan. 1, 1999, the status of province capital. The report presented in Gazeta Wyborcza Aug. 27 concerning the indebtedness of Polish cities clearly shows that, unlike other cities, Bielsko-Biała is not in debt, a fact of key importance for membership in the European Union. A precondition for using EU funds is co-financing, according to which the commune is responsible for up to 40 percent of a given investment. By law, a commune cannot incur debts in excess of 60 percent of its annual income, while debt service costs cannot exceed 15 percent of annual income. This puts such debt-free communes, including Bielsko-Biała, in a favorable position regarding access to structural funds.

We invite investors to Bielsko-Biała.

We propose the Bielski Technological Park of 6 hectares as a prime location for investment.

A lot of 11.4 ha is also ready for investors in Bielsko-Biała, in a sub-zone of the Katowice Special Economic Zone.

We are searching for a strategic investor for ZIAD SA, the owner of the gondola on Szyndzielnia Mountain and over 38 ha of attractive highland areas.

Investcity 2002
Stand No. 17e