The city comptroller has issued a scathing report on Tel Aviv's overdue parking fine collection methods, saying that officials fabricate reports and lie that they have visited homes to issue warnings, reports Yediot Tel Aviv. The comptroller's report justifies the claims of thousands of Tel Aviv residents, who have been complaining for years that they often receive no warning before collectors turn up to remove their household possessions in lieu of unpaid fines.
According to the report, city comptroller Haya Horowitz found a "long line of faults" when she examined the collection of overdue parking fines in Tel Aviv over the past year. One collector's report stated that he had "succeeded" in visiting the homes of debtors in Tel Aviv and Eilat within the space of a couple of hours in one day. Another collector's report stated that he had managed to visit 29 debtors in the space of just four hours. And still another claimed to have visited 25 homes and found no-one at home.
The newspaper said that by law, if a fine is unpaid, the city is obliged to issue the debtor a warning notice before it sends in the collectors. But the comptroller found that in many cases no warning notice was ever sent. Similarly, while collectors who find that a debtor is not home are legally required to return three times, and issue a warning so as to give the debtor a chance to pay up before they begin removing household goods, in many cases these things simply did not happen. The comptroller said collectors often fabricated reports that they had visited homes and issued warnings, and in some cases they had carried out removals at "unreasonable" times or during holidays and Saturdays. Collectors also claimed added costs for having a policeman escort them, even though no policeman had actually done so.
Tel Aviv hires private collection agencies to make debtors pay up or remove household goods, but the comptroller found that many of these agencies were not selected by public tender as required by law, and the legality of their actions was therefore in question.
A municipal spokesman responded that the faults found by the comptroller would be "corrected in the latest tender," when the rules and sanctions governing collection agencies would be spelled out more clearly.
City to build more rental apartments
Miriam Bulwar David-Hay
Tel Aviv is embarking on a major building project in order to try to lower rental prices and create more affordable housing for young couples and students, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. The city is beginning work on constructing 742 apartments in five neighborhoods, and hopes that many of them will be ready next year.
According to the report, the city seems to have finally recognized that the solution to spiraling rental prices is to create more housing. To that end, construction work on apartments has begun in Neveh Ofer (300 units), Yad Eliahu (170 units), the north-west of the city (100 units), in the south Kirya (100 units) and in the Shapira neighborhood (72 units). The city is also considering projects in eight more neighborhoods, designed in the main for rental by students and young couples. Details were given for only three of the eight, which would create a total of 516 apartments.
Deputy mayor Arnon Giladi said the city could not interfere in rental prices, but could affect them indirectly by creating a greater number of homes.