Attitudes of residents
The local community is very active. This is manifested primarily in economic initiatives, the establishment and development of companies. The commune has a unique entrepreneurial climate on a national scale. This can be seen even in local restaurants, bars and cafés, where one can often witness business meetings or business talks. The involvement of some residents in the activities of NGOs is also clearly visible.
It seems that this type of activity is at an above-average level in the commune on the national scale, however, it concerns a relatively small group of residents, definitely not the majority. Respondents emphasize that currently social engagement is manifested primarily in the activity of formalized non-governmental organizations. This is a clear change compared to the 1990s, when the inhabitants joined initiatives spontaneously and on a more massive scale. The aim of these initiatives was primarily to develop gas and telephone networks in the commune, thus very tangible benefits for individuals. The current lower engagement may be due to the fact that the basic needs of the majority of the population have been met.
Engagement in civic matters (local politics, local government) does not distinguish Tarnowo from the rest of the country. Residents take part in local government elections. The turnout is about 50% and is comparable to the national average. It is hard to speak of great interest in local politics (relatively small participation in pre-election meetings, commune council sessions, etc.).
Operations of non-governmental organizations
Social activity within formalized structures thrives in Tarnowo Podgórne. The non-governmental sector in the commune is developed above the national average. The activities of the residents are supported in an organized manner by the commune office within the framework of annual cooperation programs defining the principles and financial framework of support for non-governmental organizations.
In 2014, 84 associations and foundations were registered in Tarnowo Podgórne. According to the information obtained from the commune office, about 50 of them are active, of which about 30 participate in the commune program of cooperation with non-governmental organizations. The non-governmental sector is quite diverse. The largest number of organizations has a sports character (student sports clubs, associations focused on one sport, such as: karate, bowling, cycling, tennis, sport shooting). Several active associations deal with charity and people with disabilities (“Dar Serc” Association, “ROKTAR” Association of People with Disabilities and their Families, “Iskierka Nadziei” Association for Children and Youth, “Otoczmy Troską Życie” Foundation). There are two senior citizens’ associations and a university of the third age. In the area of culture there are: “Da Capo” Brass Band Association (interestingly, it is one of the two brass bands in the commune, the other one operates at the cultural center), “Jacek z Szafy” Association (music, literature), “Otwórz się na folklor” Association of Folk Culture Supporters, “Poligrodzie” Society (a folklore ensemble), the Tarnowo Knights’ Brotherhood Association, the Gen. Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki Society (the society runs the Museum of Wielkopolska Insurgents). There are several organizations focused on local community development: Resident Association of Osiedle Zielone II and III (Chyby), Trifolium Foundation (labor market), “Nasze Małe Ojczyzny” Society of Friends of Przeźmierowo and Baranowo, “Dream Up” Foundation for Support of Creativity and Innovation (social activation). Two associations are responsible for organization and development of cooperation with twin towns: The “Pojednanie Tarnowo Podgórne–Blitzenreute” Association and the Polish-Dutch Ceradz Kościelny-Norg Association. In both cases, cooperation under partnership agreements (twin communes/towns) has its source in previous spontaneous contacts established by the residents. The Voluntary Fire Brigade also operates in the commune. An active organization is the Association of Tarnowo Entrepreneurs, which brings together mainly small and medium-sized enterprises from the commune (cf. above).
Relations between residents and the commune
The relationship between the local authorities and the residents in the commune is at least correct. In a survey conducted in June 2014, almost 80% of the respondents indicated that the work of the commune office has been improving over the past years. Only about 5% had a different opinion. 96% of respondents declared confidence in the commune authorities. The vast majority of the respondents are of the opinion that the authorities take into account the opinion of the residents (and not just before the elections) and that their actions are guided by the interests of the residents (and not only their own).
Critical opinions are very rare and occur mainly in the eastern part of the commune. They are based on the “traditional” conflict of interests between the eastern part of the commune and its western part (complaints about lower investment intensity, e.g. the location of the swimming pool complex in Tarnowo Podgórne, not in Przeźmierowo) and the problem of air traffic noise (this, however, is an issue the local government has no significant influence on).
The foundation of good relations between the authorities and the residents is the economic situation in the commune, high standard of living, well-developed public services, low unemployment, investments. Moreover, an important factor is the involvement of the commune authorities in informing about the undertaken activities and stimulating social participation. The commune runs an extensive system of public consultations (exceeding the statutory requirements) and it regularly conducts opinion polls among residents. Since the 1990s, a free commune magazine “Sąsiadka – Czytaj” has been published (circulation of almost 8 thousand, also available in electronic version). The commune is very active online, it has an extensive website, a web TV channel, an active profile on Facebook (with almost 1.9 thousand “likes”). Another way to support social engagement are the two distinctions established by the local government: The “Lion of Tarnowo” [Tarnowski Lew] (for those who have particularly distinguished themselves in the development of the commune, most often entrepreneurs or companies – this is an institutional award) and “Active Locally” [Aktywny Lokalnie] (for individuals involved in community life).
There are no serious conflicts in the commune that would significantly antagonize the local community. The rivalry between the eastern part of the commune (Przeźmierowo, Baranowo, Wysogotowo) and its central and western part (headed by Tarnowo Podgórne) has faded (perhaps it lies dormant?). In the 1990s there were strong separatist tendencies, i.e. the eastern part of the commune wanted to separate from Tarnowo Podgórne. The division of the commune was even voted on by the council. One vote decided to abandon the idea. Nowadays, separatist tendencies have been minimized. This is facilitated by the balancing policy of the commune authorities (many investments in Przeźmierowo, e.g. a branch of the cultural center, development of the village center, the so-called Rynek Przeźmierowski, a branch of the commune office) and the economic structure, i.e. the location of large plants (paying high taxes) in the revenue zone of Tarnowo Podgórne (it is estimated that currently the eastern part of the commune contributes relatively less to the budget than other areas – in contrast to the early 1990s). Moreover, it should be emphasized that the respondents from the eastern part of the commune are very reserved about the idea of possible inclusion of these areas in Poznań. The main reason is the satisfaction with the level of service in the commune office and the fear of marginalization and reduced impact on local affairs.
An important problem for the local community of the eastern part of the commune is the air traffic noise from the nearby Poznań-Ławica airport. The air corridor of this airport passes over the central part of Przeźmierowo. The distance between the end of the runway to the newly developed Rynek Przeźmierowski is about 1.3 km. The successive increase of traffic at the Poznań airport means a constant increase of nuisance for the Przeźmierowo residents and in the long run – a decrease in attractiveness and reduction in value of the real estate. However, solving this problem goes far beyond the competences of the local authorities and the capabilities of the local community.
It is worth noting that contrary to expectations, the respondents and residents who participated in the surveys very rarely pointed out the inconvenience associated with the construction or operations of businesses. Few opinions indicated disturbing noises from production plants or increased traffic on local roads.