Jerusalem mayor presents 2012 budget

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat presented the 2012 budget at Kikar Safra on Monday, with a special emphasis on infrastructure, beautification and sanitation in the coming year.
The city plans to invest NIS 925 million in developing infrastructure and an additional NIS 57m. for city beautification, including landscaping and improving city parks and playgrounds.
The budget for 2012 is NIS 4.1 billion, an increase of NIS 262m. from 2011, or 6.85 percent.
There are no budget cuts in the 2012 budget, though some city council members from Meretz said that the additions to the welfare services and cultural budgets were not sufficient to deal with the needs of those branches.
“The part [of the budget] that bothers me the most is that we’re perpetrating the major gaps in east Jerusalem in terms of employment, social issues, and education,” said Pepe Alalu, who used to be head of the opposition before joining the coalition as a deputy mayor six months ago.
Last year, the mayor concentrated on the cultural programs, doubling the budget from NIS 20m. to NIS 40m. This year, the cultural budget will only increase by NIS 3m. as the mayor shifts the focus to city beautification.
Property taxes (Arnona) will not be raised this year.
“In 2012, we intend to bring a breakthrough in beautification and its cleanliness, and reduce the gaps in east Jerusalem, and the gaps in the classrooms in the haredi classrooms,” said Barkat.
“Investment in infrastructure will bear fruit in the long run and change the face of the city.”
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