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HRM Forecasting Operating Surplus for Fourth Year in a Row
(Sunday, November 24/2002)-- Halifax Regional Municipality is heading for another operating Budget surplus-- for the fourth year in a row, Mayor Peter Kelly said today.
Mayor Kelly said second quarter projections forecast the municipality should end the fiscal year with an operating surplus of about $462,000. However, he cautions that snow and ice control costs for this winter, as well as other unexpected and unforeseen costs, could have an effect on the bottom line.
The Mayor said that HRM's Multi-Year Financial Strategy, a comprehensive Budget Review process, and effective management practices have all combined to provide the municipality with financial stability and fiscal predictability.
"For the past three years, the municipality has recorded an operating surplus each year, and Regional Council has passed along those savings to the taxpayer in the form of modest decreases in the General Tax Rate each year. This has helped to offset the effects of increasing property assessments by the Province of Nova Scotia, " he said.
A staff report being presented to Regional Council on Tuesday, states that current projections indicate an operating surplus of $462,000 this year, compared to a first quarter projected deficit of $2,061,000.
The net departmental position is forecast to be a deficit of $877,000, compared to a first quarter projected overrun of $644,000. Increased costs are related to fuel price increases for Metro Transit and increased salary costs to provide enhanced Fire protection services for Herring Cove. These increases were partially offset by increased parking ticket revenue projections.
Overall, the departmental projected deficit is offset by lower than expected increases in total provincial assessment costs due to deferral of some projects to future years. Also, transit bus lease costs have been adjusted downward to reflect later start dates for the leases; Deed Transfer Tax projected revenues are being forecast to increase; and an increase in "own source revenue" primarily reflects higher than anticipated interest rates.
Mayor Kelly congratulated members of Halifax Regional Council and HRM staff for their tremendous efforts in ensuring the municipality turns in a balanced Budget each year.
The Mayor leaves for Ottawa tomorrow morning, where he and other members of the Big Cities Mayors Caucus will meet with several Federal Cabinet Ministers on Monday and Tuesday to press for increased federal funding to municipalities.
Mayor Peter Kelly