Treasure chests

There are 230 employees in the municipal treasury, headed by Eli Zituk, 51, who resides in Mevaseret Zion. The treasury has three main departments: budget, finance management, and arnona. Zituk says that he knows that this is a complex situation, driven by political as well as financial considerations, so he tries, he says, not to take his personal feelings and pride into account. Last year, for example, the decision regarding the rate of arnona was taken very late, towards the end of February. The budget was prepared on the basis of the previous level of arnona, but then the government raised the rate by 3 percent. So Zituk had to send out letters to all of Jerusalem's residents, informing them of their new tax rates. It wasn't over yet. Within the framework of the rehabilitation program, the municipality decided to raise the arnona rates again, this time by 2 percent. But the Interior Ministry, beset by personnel changes, approved the raise in August. So by the end of August, the municipality once again sent out letters to all of Jerusalem's citizens, again informing them of the newest tax rates. Needless to say, Zituk admits, he received countless letters of complaint. Among their other complaints, the capital's incensed citizens wanted to know why the municipality was wasting so much money on mailings. "What could we say?" asks Zituk patiently.- P.C.