Mayor Nir Barkat.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jerusalem Municipality will vote on its 2018 annual budget next week, Mayor Nir Barkat said at a city council meeting on Sunday.
The council will vote on the annual budget when it next meets on March 22, he said.
This will be the largest budget ever presented for the capital, a municipality statement said, and will include some NIS 6 billion for the regular budget and an additional NIS 3 billion for development.
“Barkat told the city council members that the municipality is maintaining a dialogue with the Finance and Interior ministries in order to finalize the amount of the governmental support to the capital,” the statement said. “From initial understandings... it seems that governmental resources coming from the Finance and Interior ministries are expected to set an all-time record of NIS 832 million.”
Part of the budget will be used to upgrade infrastructures and services in east Jerusalem, the statement added.
“This sum [in support to the municipality]... yet to be finalized, will be good news for Jerusalem, will allow passing a balanced budget, secure the future thriving of Jerusalem and prevent cutbacks and the firing of employees,” Barkat said on Sunday.
The news of the budget vote comes against the backdrop of possible national elections in Israel. Barkat, who is a member of the Likud ruling party, has refused to say if he will run for a third term as mayor in October’s municipal elections or join national politics.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post
in November, Barkat said he would announce his political plans after the municipal annual budget is passed.
“When I will decide, I’ll make it public,” he said at the time.
The budget was supposed to be voted on the end of 2017. However, due to a personal feud between Barkat and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon – which included signs being posted throughout the capital against Kahlon, a strike and piles of garbage covering the capital – budget discussions were postponed. A joint team was formed that included representatives of the municipality and the Finance and Interior ministries in order to solve the crisis.
In light of Sunday’s announcement, the Post again asked the municipality if Barkat had yet made a decision regarding his future plans.
A municipality spokesman responded by saying, “As he said, after the budget will pass on March 22nd, the mayor will decide and announce his plan, and it will be before Passover.”
A request for a comment from the Finance Ministry was not answered by press time.