Political think tank Praxis and consulting and training center Geomedia launched an internet portal that allows users to interactively compare cost of services in different municipalities and counties.

People may view services such as education, welfare and community services, opportunities for spending leisure time, water and heating costs and administrative costs of local governments, Praxis said in a press release on Wednesday.

Users may search for the cost of services in their own region, then compare the results with other areas of the country.

“You may check where the closest nursery schools are, and how much they cost. Lists of investments made by municipalities in the last five years are also available on the site,” said Hille Hinsberg, one of the authors of the website.

The website includes information on the amount of taxes each of the 226 municipalities collect and users may compare all information to the national average.

The Kodupilt website, translating as overview or picture of your home, can be found here, but it is only available in Estonian.

The site is financed by the Open Society Foundation and managed by Praxis and Geomedia.

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The creators of the web page hope to further enliven debate on administrative reform, which has been gathering momentum in recent months.

Siim Kiisler, the minister of regional affairs, recently proposed a new reform that would cut the number of local governments from 226 to between 30 and 50 by 2017. The plan would involve forcing mergers, as only 18 municipalities have volunteered to unite this year, before the October 20 local elections.

The website could also play a part in the local elections, which are held simultaneously in all of the country’s local government units.

Source: Website Comparing Local Services Unveiled, ERR