Barkat Threatens Shutdown in Budget Brawl

YERUSHALAYIM -
A scene in Mea Shearim during the sanitation strike last year. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat has threatened to shut down the capital if money promised by the Finance Ministry is not soon forthcoming.

In a letter to Finance Minister Moshe Khalon on Tuesday, Barkat said that a strike of all municipal workers would ensue next Sunday if the Ministry does not authorize transfer of this year’s 800 million shekels for the city’s budget, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“Unfortunately, this promise [of funding] made by you has been unfulfilled, and you have not transferred the amount the ministry committed,” Barkat wrote, adding that Kahlon also failed to approve funding for the construction of 1,000 classrooms.

“Failure to pass Yerushalayim’s budget seriously undermines the basic services of nearly 900,000 residents of the city, and millions of visitors… The capital of Israel is facing a serious crisis that could lead to a general collapse of services provided to residents of the city, and to those who visit.”

A year ago, a citwide sanitation strike dragged on for several days as garbage piled up after Barkat fired 170 workers over that year’s budget shortfall. An agreement wrested from the Finance Ministry for 17 million shekels enabled the city to rehire the workers, and the strike ended.