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Tel Aviv Growing Despite Political, Economic Troubles, Mayor Reports

This city has continued its growth in the face of political and economic difficulties and amid a serious crisis, Mayor Israel Rokach told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview here.

The population increased by at least 15,000 during 1939, the Mayor said. (The population is estimated at more than 180,000.) Building activity in the pre-war period of January to August, 1939, showed a 40 per cent increase over the previous year. Electrical energy consumption rose 30 per cent. In 1939, Tel Aviv continued as the principal contributor to Government revenue, its share being estimated at approximately L1,000,000.

After the first shock of the war dislocation, Rokach declared, Tel Aviv rallie from the depression and signs of recovery appeared from October onward. Municipal revenue during the last quarter of 1939 was L112,400 as compared with L95,485 in the same period of 1938.

The expected opening of a new section of the city in East Tel Aviv will stimul commercial building. Final approval is about to be given to a town-planning scheme drawn up for 4,000 dunams, and a new chapter will then be opened in the history of Tel Aviv’s expansion, the Mayor said. Road construction in East Tel Aviv will be started shortly.

“The Government’s recent L250,000 loan, although welcome, is only a partial measure which will not permit adequate material improvements of some of the public utilities most urgently needed by the city, including a new water supply system necessitating the expenditure of L500,000,” he said. “Negotiations, however, are now under way with a large Jewish corporation to make possible the materializing of this project. Plans have been prepared for financing of the project out of internal resources and through participation of interested property owners.

“If no obstacles are placed in the municipality’s way, it should be possible to carry out, during the next three years, drainage projects covering half the city. Construction of public buildings to house municipal schools is another urgent need. Some L12,000 are now being spent annually on rented premises.

“The municipality is fully able to meet new commitments in connection with fresh loans. The present indebtedness is very low, amounting to L450,000, including the new L250,000 loan. Calculated per capita, this is only L2 1/2, compared with L20 or L30 in most English and American municipalities.”

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