Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Adar 5766 - March 29, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Bnei Brak Budget Approved

By A. Cohen

The municipal budget for the City of Bnei Brak will come to NIS 653.5 million ($140 million) for the year 2006 in contrast to an operating report of NIS 682.7 million ($146 million) for the previous year the Finance Committee and the City Council confirmed.

At the beginning of the committee meeting, Mayor Rabbi Frankentahl noted that the running deficit decreased from NIS 90-95 million ($19-20 million) in the past to an operating estimate of NIS 48.8 million ($10.5 million) in 2005 due to extensive economic recovery activity. According to the proposed budget it will drop to NIS 16.7 million ($3.6 million).

The Mayor says these activities are "financial oxygen" in the form of payments to suppliers and employee salaries. The budget plan focuses on reducing expenses and increasing income. Through these efforts and professional money management Bnei Brak became one of five local authorities permitted to issue debentures to the public.

Wage expenses will decrease from NIS 256 million ($55 million) to NIS 250 million ($53.5 million). The primary components of the new budget are NIS 176 million ($37.7 million) for education, NIS 90 million ($19 million) for welfare, NIS 22 million ($4.7 million) for water, NIS 11.6 million ($2.5 million) for religious services, NIS 38.8 million ($8.3 million) for sanitation, NIS 11.9 million ($2.6 million) for sewage, NIS 11 million ($2.4 million) for mikvo'os, NIS 6.9 million ($1.5 million) for safety and NIS 15 million ($3.2 million) for infrastructures.

In addition to the regular budget, for the first time the Mayor is tabling before the City Council the development budget for 2006, which comes to a record NIS 83 million ($17.8 million) raised from various sources including government ministries and contributions. These funds will be used for gardening and building educational institutions and roads.

The City Treasurer said that the increase in income from property taxes is not built on a rise in rates but on the new BSR Towers, the expansion of the Coca-Cola factory by thousands of square meters and the introduction of a new production line and additional buildings in the industrial area.

The reduction in expenses involves reducing cell-phone and electricity usage and running a tender for advertising in the city and collecting fees for dispatched goods. The city also managed to pay back NIS 130 million ($28 million) in loans from previous years and a considerable portion of worker funds.

At the City Council meeting the Mayor also spoke about raising rates for mikveh use, saying it is in the Interior Ministry's recovery plan and a circular from the ministry's director and was approved by rabbonim. Even after the raise in rates, the use fees in Bnei Brak remain below those in other places. He said a further decision would be made once all the data has been gathered.


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