Former interior minister Gideon Sa'ar..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Monday announced a redrawing of municipal boundaries, which will redistribute some NIS 50 million of local revenue from army bases, industry and regional councils in favor of cities and Beduin councils in the South.
“This is one of the most important social revolutions in Israel’s history,” Sa’ar said of the new district lines, which were based on three different committee reports on the issue and will go into effect on January 1, 2015. About half the revenues came from sources that fell outside district lines, and would start paying property tax for the first time.
With the new lines, Yeruham will incorporate the IDF’s training base city, and can expect an associated NIS 6.5 million in revenues as a result.
Dimona will take in the Nevatim base and NIS 13m. of its revenues, the rest of which will be distributed to nearby cities: NIS 10.5m. to Arad, NIS 4.9m. for Hura, NIS 4.5m. for Kseifa, NIS 3m. for Mitzpe Ramon, and NIS 2m. for Meitar.
Beersheba will take control of property areas belonging to the Israel Electric Corporation and Israel Military Industries and Ramat Baka Industrial Zone, gaining NIS 6.3m. in the process.
Tel Sheva would get another NIS 6m., and Ararat Hanegev another NIS 5.2m.
Sa’ar promised that the changes in the South were just a start, and that more committees would be set up to do similar work by the end of the High Holy Day season in September and October.
The main losers in the arrangement were Tamar and Ramat Hanegev regional councils, which lost a combined NIS 25m. in property tax, but they welcomed the move.
“Taking from the strong and giving to the weak – there is no other way to reduce gaps,” Sa’ar said, adding that the well-off municipalities losing funds will benefit from greater overall prosperity in the region.
Sa’ar also spoke favorably of the possibility of incorporating Bat Yam into Tel Aviv.