End of the dispute: Jerusalem municipality passes annual budget

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat: This is the largest budget ever to pass in city hall.

March 23, 2018 04:39
2 minute read.
End of the dispute: Jerusalem municipality passes annual budget

A general view of Jerusalem shows the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem's Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount December 6, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem City Council approved the capital’s budget for 2018 late Thursday night.

It is the largest ever, the municipality said. It includes some NIS 6 billion for regular expenses and an additional NIS 3b. for development.

This comes after Mayor Nir Barkat negotiated with the Finance Ministry and received some NIS 877 million as governmental support for Jerusalem, of which NIS 700m. will be the annual “capital’s grant”; NIS 87m. will be an addition to the regular budget; and NIS 90m. will come from past obligations of the Finance and Interior ministries and other amounts that were agreed upon with other ministries.
It was also decided that additional funds will be budgeted to improve sanitation services and cleanliness in east Jerusalem, according to agreements that will be reached with the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry.

The municipality said in a statement that “the 2018 budget continues the improvement of education services and includes the addition of thousands of classrooms; the improvement of Jerusalem’s economy and transportation infrastructure, enhancing the appearance of the city and its cleanliness level; closing [social] gaps and continuing the development of culture, welfare and the community.”

Barkat said: “I am proud to pass this meaningful budget, the largest one we ever passed in Jerusalem: NIS 9b. total for the regular and the development [budgets] is an outstanding amount that will allow Jerusalem to move forward, develop in all fields, close gaps and bless the residents of the city and its visitors.”

The budget was supposed to be voted on by the end of 2017.

However, due to a feud between Barkat and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon – which included signs being posted throughout the capital against Kahlon, a strike by municipal workers, 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.

After the budget passed, MK Rachel Azaria – a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem and currently a member of Kahlon’s Kulanu party – said that she is glad that “the fake crisis” is over.

“We could have avoided this whole unnecessary drama, since similar amounts were discussed in the past,” she said.

“But what’s important is that the city of Jerusalem finally has a budget,” she added.

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