Hod Hasharon gets six months to improve accounts

The city of Hod Hasharon has reported an accumulated deficit of NIS 47 million at the end of 2008, and the Interior Ministry has given the city six months to improve its numbers or face the appointment of a ministry accountant over its finances, reports www.local.co.il. Mayor Hai Adiv has promised to do his best to cut NIS 20 million from the deficit, and the city is planning steps that include "drastic" cuts to spending and reductions in staff numbers. According to the report, the city owes about NIS 190 million in outstanding loans and is owed about NIS 170 million by residents and business owners in fees and levies. A municipal spokesman said the deficit stemmed mainly from those "unrealized debts" owed to the city, saying that the military industry, for example, had a debt of millions of shekels that was currently before an appeals committee. The spokesman said the city had not exceeded its spending budget. He said the city, like any economic body, was obliged to preserve a balanced budget, and because of the global economic crisis and an expected fall in earnings, the soon-to-be-complete 2009 budget would contain "efficiency measures." The spokesman did not detail these measures, but the report said the city was planning drastic cuts to spending and firings of employees.