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Municipal workers' salaries will rise by NIS 25 million, or almost 4 percent, in Haifa's 2008 budget, according to the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. But this rise means that some municipal departments will get no increase next year and others will have their spending cut - news that reportedly has already depressed departmental managers.
According to the report, in an agreement signed by the Histadrut labor union with the Treasury, the Interior Ministry and the department for local government, municipal workers' salaries are expected to rise by NIS 25m. in 2008, up from NIS 650m. this year. Pensions, which this year stood at NIS 150m., will also be updated in next year's budget. Haifa's entire budget was NIS 1.5 billion this year.
The report said discussions were still continuing on the budget details, but city manager Shmuel Ganatz has already told departmental managers that they will not get an increase in the budget, and has asked many to reduce their spending next year. The Yafeh-Nof municipal development company was asked to cut its spending by millions of shekels, and has expressed its opposition to the idea.
"Salaries are a requirement that does not depend on us, and the rise in salaries forces us to adjust the budget," Ganatz said. He added that there would not be cuts in all departments, but that some planned new projects would not go ahead. He also said that municipal taxes were expected to rise by just 1.3%, or NIS 12m., in 2008, forcing the city to rein in spending.
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