Birthday budget getting out of hand?

Officials are asking to double the budget, from NIS 16.4 million to NIS 31 million, to renovate the Museum for Local History in Kikar Bialik.

bialik building 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
bialik building 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The city of Tel Aviv is being criticized for going overboard in its 100th birthday celebration plans after officials asked that the budget for renovations to the Museum for Local History be doubled, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Tel Aviv. Some councilors are saying the birthday plans are getting completely out of hand and the money could be better spent on building community centers for children in need. According to the report, city officials recently asked the Municipal Finances Committee to approve a raise in the museum renovation budget from NIS 16.4 million to NIS 31 million. The museum, located in the former city hall building in Kikar Bialik, displays photographic and documentary records of the city's development through the 20th century. The renovation plans call for restoration of the building's exterior as well as construction of new display areas and multimedia lecture rooms inside. The report said that while the city's Finances Committee had agreed to fund the project to the tune of NIS 16.4 million, a further NIS 14.6 million was needed. The report said the Tel Aviv Development Fund, which seeks out donors for selected projects, was having trouble finding a donor for this one, so planners had asked the city to fund the entire project. But Likud councilor Shlomo Maslawi - a member of the Finances Committee - said the cost was unreasonable. "It is a shame to spend these sums," he said. "With this money it is possible to build community centers for children in the southern neighborhoods." He added that NIS 31 million for the renewal of a museum "sounds like an insane sum." Maslawi also said it was absurd that despite the development fund's failure to find any donor, it would still be paid its five percent management fee - in this case NIS 1.5 million. "I do not understand why we need to give NIS 1.5 million to the development fund when in the end all the money will come from the city … why should we waste public moneys for the benefit of this fund?" Maslawi said. A municipal spokesman said the city was still hoping to find a donor, and the development fund would continue to manage the project. The spokesman said the city would fund the renovations in the meantime, because it regarded them as critically important, with the unveiling of the restored museum planned as one of the opening events of the birthday celebrations next year.