Governors of Tbilisi
In November 1874, the rich and influential voting residents of Tbilisi elected 72 members (G. Abesalomov, A. Averkiev, N. Argutunsky, I. Bagration-Mukhraneli, I. Gruzinsky, S. Zubalashvili, N. Zubalashvili, A. Matinov and others) of the City Council. In 1875 Tbilisi Council held mayor elections at which Dimitri Kipiani and Eremia Artsrun were nominated for the post of the Head of the City. Dimitri Kipiani won the elections.
Dimitir Kipiani presided over Tbilisi Self-Government for three years during which he initiated a number of important undertakings. He joined the urban development department to the Municipal Board, found a partial solution to the city's problem of finding accommodation for the military, conducted the population census, cancelled series of rules incompatible with the new order, and introduced the right administrative-economic system.
The period of the Kipiani rule is related to the development of the former Yerevan Square (now Freedom Square), the application for building a new treasury theatre, raising funds for the development of a water-pipe project in Tbilisi. In this period, the Municipality started paying allowances to the families of low-ranking civil servants, doing away with stray dogs. Besides, the Municipality installed gas-fuelled lamps to provide lighting for the city, dropped fuel prices, etc. Dimitir Kipiani presided over Tbilisi Self-Government for three years.
It should be mentioned that Dimitri Kipiani enjoyed deed respect and high reputation among his contemporaries. The respect and love for Dimitri Kipiani further grew in the Georgian society following his tragic murder. The Russian imperial rule did not forgive aged Dimitri Kipiani's principle attitude to Exarch Pavle's meanness. First he was resettled and then murdered under unknown circumstances. His reinterment from Stavropol to Mtatsminda, Tbilisi grew into the largest national-liberation demonstration of Georgians in the 19th century. Dimitri Kipiani made tremendous contributions to Georgia. Hardly had there been any public activity that Dimitri Kipiani was not the initiator or an active participant of it.
He was the founder of Literacy Promotion Society and Georgian Estate Bank.
In 1879 the voting members of the City Council elected Aleksandre Matinov Head of Tbilisi. During his being in office, in 1881, the City Council assigned Architect A. Ozerov to design the City House (Mayor's Building) Reconstruction Project. The Georgian Dramatic Society was established in 1880. The construction of the Treasury Theatre started in 1880, too. The next year in 1881, the Municipal Government opened seven three-year primary schools, each for 50 pupils and 1 teacher. March 22, 1883 saw the opening of the first-ever horse-tram traffic from Station Square to Vorontsov Square. The same year also saw the opening of Batumi-Tbilisi-Baku railroad. In 1884 a metal Vera Bridge was opened over the Mtkvari River. September 24, 1887 was the day that marked the completion of Avchala Water-Pipe construction. The first heat station was launched in 1887, etc.
The name of Matinov is also related to the Electric Tram Project, Orphan Children's Shelter, and Avlabari and Kharpukhi Hospitals. Before his death in Paris, the greatest patriot of the city made a will, bequeathing 200 000 roubles to his beloved Tbilisi.
The decade of 1880-1890 witnessed a considerable growth in the self-government budget of Tbilisi, reflecting duly on the subsequent activities. More attention was given to the municipal economy, people's education, healthcare. However, both the government and the City Council focused on the development of the district where the Emperor's servants and rich people lived. The Council did not care for the concerns of the workers.
The decade of 1880-1890 saw a widening standoff in the City Council. The majority of the Armenian bourgeoisie were competed by the Georgian merchant-manufacturers and intelligentsia. Therefore, the election in 1890 took a national flavor. The opposition leaders conducted a pre-election campaign among the Georgian electorate, making a considerable success. As a result, Aleksandre Matinov resigned and the intelligentsia elected Nikoloz Argutashvili Head of the City.
But the progresists’ victory was short-lived. The new Regulation that came into force following Aleksandre II’s death (1892) limited the rights of the Council and the Board. The resolutions and orders of the Municipality took effect only after the Governor’s approval. The persons elected to the Self-government had to be approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
This period is known for such important events as the Tbilisi Sewage Pilot Project (1895), the first electric lighting network (1897). The cobble-stoned streets and highways in Tbilisi accounted for 68 000 square sazhens in 1875 and 160 000 square sazhens in 1903.
Vasil Cherkezishvili (Cherkezov)
In 1905 Vasil Cherkezishvili (Cherkezov) was elected Head of the City. He became Head of Tbilisi in the first years of the revolution. Thanks to his energetic efforts Tbilisi avoided large-scale clashes and bloodshed.
The period, during which he was Head of the City, saw the implementation of a number of important projects: Tbilisi Funicular was launched in 1905, Kashueti Church construction started in 1905 to end in 1910, the first movie theatre was opened in Mushtaidi Garden, V. Zubalashvili People’s House (Markanishvili Theatre Building) opened in 1907, the construction of Mukhrani Metal Bridge over the Mtkvari River started on November 22, 1908 to end in 1911, the first city hospital – the so-called Aramyants Hospital was opened in 1910, in 1911 Tbilisi Streets were lightened by 54 electric lamps. Besides, 1911 was the year in which foundation was laid to the Caucasian Officer’s Economic Society House (now TBC Bank Building), etc.
A street and a square had been named after Vasil Cherkezishvili for years before the Bolsheviks renamed them into Soviet Street and Soviet Square.
On April 25, 1917, the Provisional Government of Russia promulgated the new regulations for election of the voting members of the city council. The elections were held and the new council formed subsequently comprised three factions – the Social-Democrats, the Dashnaks and the Esers.
Aleksandre Khatisov was elected Head of the City. His years of being in office is related to the following events: the year 1917 saw the end to the practice of notifying 12 hours by a daily cannon fire that had been done in Tbilisi since the end of the 19th century; May 1, 1917 was the day, on which the First Conservatoire of Tbilisi was founded; February 8, 1918 was the day of establishment of Tbilisi State University; May 26, 1919 was the day, on which the first Georgian post stamp was issued.
Tbilisi Governance in 1998-2002
The local self-government elections of December 9, 1998 brought the following seven parties into Tbilisi Council: Citizens’ Union, Labour Party, Socialists, People’s Party, NDP, Revival and Traditionalists.
Vladimer Kakhadze, a doctor by profession, was elected Chairman of the Council and Nana Devdariani – Secretary of the Council (Socialist Party).
In the above period, the Council launched a personification drive, in other words, appointed individual allowances. A 5-year social-economic development plan was unveiled to cover such areas as urban planning, municipal zoning, and temporary regulation.
It was fir the first time that the capital city was divided into 3 zones and 56 sub-zones and per m2 land price was fixed respectively. Red lines were also identified.
In 2005 Georgian Parliament passed an organic law “on Local Self-Governance”. The law determines: legal, economic and financial basis of local self-governance bodies' activity; the order of local self-governance bodies’ creation, their permissions and (their) relations with state bodies.
Nowadays, local self-governance of Georgia is realized on the basis of: Georgian Constitution, “European Charter on Local Self-Governance”, Georgian organic law “on Local Self-governance”, Georgian law “on Tbilisi- the Capital of Georgia” and other statutory acts.
The new era has been started in capital’s governance system after electing a leader of “United National Movement” Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili on the position of Tbilisi City Assembly Chairman. During that time Mr. Saakashvili proved to the population that it was possible to democratize, regulate and implement the implacable principles against corruption set not for a while yet his ministration and deputation.
On his initiative, the City Assembly of Tbilisi put up a struggle against illegal construction and lawlessness in land ruling system. 30 plots were returned to city and up to 80 illegal constructions were stopped. Despite of impediments, it was also aborted to build illegal constructions in Digomi Park and destroying plant cover. All Subway surroundings had been free from commercial centers. The social protection program implementation was the first issue set by newly elected chairman. The program started by increasing pensions for 3 Gel due to half diminution of City Assembly member’s salaries.
On Mr. Saakashvili’s initiative it has been started restoring elevators and roofs in multistory buildings. Within that time the population became able to call in an ambulance three times for free. The firs-formers were granted with full school manual. As one time benefit it was allocated 50 Gel for each newborn.
Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili also took an initiative to cast a sculpture at 9 April Square and produce memorial plaque with eternal fire for perished in Apkhazeti and Samachablo war.
Since Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili has been elected President, Mr. Zaza Begashvili has been appointed Tbilisi City Assembly chairman. During his chairmanship Tbilisi City budget had been raised from 328874.6 to 574807.2 GEL. Mr. Begashvili set his priorities in municipal services and social field. He allotted funds for damaged buildings, for repairing roads and outdoor lighting. The former chairman also raised financing rates for police patrol and put a positive interdict on outdoor trade, he raised the salaries to pensioners residing in Tbilisi and employees in the field of education, culture and sport. On Mr. Begashvili’s initiative funds were allotted for solitary pensioners and the helpless people as well as for covering delayed salaries in 2003. The unwed mothers, large families and refugee families ware free from fees in preschools. It has also been financed the social protection program for unprotected people.
In 2007 it has been implemented the data base of socially unprotected families. For people less than 7000 point residing in Tbilisi had been set advantages on using municipal transport and reduced tax rates on water and cleaning municipal services.
On Mr. Begashvili’s initiative it has been implemented toll-free ambulance service 03, free preschool education, musical and sport colleges, assistance to get credit for paid universities.
The city budget had been assigned for 574807.2 Gel. It had been raised financial aid for large families -20 GEL for each child under age of 18. It had been also raised one-time financial aid for every third and more newborn and for old people achieved 100 years.