Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has instructed officials in his office to begin preparing for the firing of hundreds of employees and to cut the education and social services budgets in the city due to the lack of national government support. If this plan is implemented, it will impact the chareidi sector as well.
Cuts will include security personnel for schools and daycare centers along with “massive cuts” in city social services and cultural activities.
According to information released, some 200 people will be fired if the austerity plan is actualized and the impact will be widespread, including shelters for youths at risk, programs to assist the elderly and infirmed, as well as the city’s gardening and road improvement budgets. Neighborhood community centers (matnas) budgets will be cut sharply, which includes many afterschool activities for thousands of children around the city.
According to the mayor’s office, the treasury each year allocates funds to fill the gap that exists between the city budget and the city’s income, which seems to grow annually, but this year, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has been unwilling to do so.
The city is calling on the treasury to release an additional NIS 400 million in the 2016 budget to accommodate natural growth and city expansion but this is yet to occur. City Hall is now beginning to apply pressure, announcing to the media that with Finance Ministry support, cuts will be heavy and widespread.
Back in November YWN-ISRAEL reported Mayor Barkat was already at odds with the Finance Minister, who he said has frozen money that should be released to the capital. The treasury on the other hand insisted the mayor has sufficient funds and the budgetary shortage is the result of his fiscal irresponsibility.
It is pointed out that the deficit in the Jerusalem budget has increased every year during Mayor Barkat’s tenure including his first and current second term.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
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