Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Municipal Tax and Municipal Profit in the City Center

Dafna Shemer

The 2014 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem includes data regarding arnona (municipal taxes) in Jerusalem, providing an opportunity to examine which parts of the city generate the bulk of income for the municipality from non-residential arnona. In 2011, residential and non-residential arnona constituted 81% of all independent income for the Municipality of Jerusalem, and 57% of its entire income. Non-residential arnona constitutes nearly half of all municipal income from arnona.

The data reveal that over a tenth of municipal income from non-residential arnona derives from non-residential properties in the city center. About 20% of municipal income from arnona comes from the main centers of business (the Old City, the city center in general, and Romema), and a similar percentage comes from Jerusalem’s trade, business, and industrial areas (Talpiot, Giv’at Sha’ul, and Har Hotzvim).

The “profitability” of an area in terms of the non-residential arnona it generates may be assessed by looking at the municipal income derived from this area in relation to the area’s built-up territory. The attached map demonstrates how non-residential arnona fees are distributed across the built-up territory of every sub-quarter of Jerusalem. It is important to note that arnona for offices, services, and trade is higher than arnona for residential purposes. For example, in what is defined as Area A, the arnona rate for a residential apartment up to 120 square meters is NIS 86 per square meter, whereas the rate for a space up to 150 square meters that is used for trade purposes is NIS 327 per square meter. 

An analysis of arnona fees in relation to the built-up territory of neighborhoods reveals that (non-residential) tax payments per dunam (about one-quarter of an acre) in the city center is about NIS 137,000 per dunam per year. For the sake of comparison, non-residential arnona in the city center is 1.7 times greater than that of the Old City’s Christian Quarter (about NIS 80,000 per dunam per year), and 3 times greater than that of the Talpiot industrial zone (about NIS 47,000 per dunam). The attached map indicates the relative distribution of space designated for non-residential purposes, including the trade, services, and industry concentrated in the city center, in contrast to Jerusalem’s peripheral neighborhoods, which have few territories that generate municipal income from non-residential purposes. Exceptions in this context are the Talpiot industrial zone, the area in which the Malha Mall is situated, the Technological Garden, and the area of Ein Kerem, which includes Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. 

An examination of data from previous years indicates that the status of the city center has remained relatively stable, as reflected in the 7% decline in the amount of non-residential arnona income over the past 30 years, despite changing geographic patterns of consumption such as the opening of the Malha Mall in the early 1990s and despite the security situation, which has had a great impact on the city center.