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Halifax Regional Municipality Tables the 2010/2011 Budget

(Tuesday, May 18, 2010)-- Tonight, Chief Administrative Officer Dan English tabled the proposed 2010/2011 Budget for the Halifax Regional Municipality. The proposed budget includes a modest general tax rate increase and a variety of budget reductions to close a multi-million dollar funding gap.

A $731 million total Operating Budget (4.0% increase over 2009/2010) and a gross Capital Budget of $157 million (10.9% increase over 2009/2010) is being proposed. Exclusive of Transit enhancements and additional contributions for Solid Waste to fund the next land fill cell, growth in the municipal portion of the operating budget has been limited to less than the rate of inflation.

In presenting the draft budget, Mr. English highlighted that HRM staff have met the challenge of building a balanced budget. Recognizing a $30 million budget gap, Council asked staff to find $14 million within current spending, apply $10 million to the transit rate to support transit growth, and attribute $6 million to the general tax rate. As the budget gap grew to approximately $35.5 million, due to an HST increase and additional funding added to the Winter Works budget, and additional $5.5 million in efficiencies, increased revenues, and proposed budget reductions was identified - for a total of $19.5 million.

"It is fair to say that every area of our operations has undergone an intense level of scrutiny, and every avenue for new or increased revenues has been explored," said Mr. English.

As proposed, the budget will mean some service reductions, and moderate increases in fees and taxes. "The proposed addition of $6 million through the general tax rate equates to a rate increase of 1.7%, or an annual general rate increase of $22 on HRM’s average home assessment of $180,200," noted Cathie O’Toole, HRM’s Chief Financial Officer.

The $10 million in revenue proposed through an increase in the Transit area rate will be achieved through Transit Regional Rate increase of $0.008 and a Transit Local Rate increase of $0.02. The impact of the rates on the annual tax bill of an average home assessment of $180,200 will be approximately $55.

Service reductions in the proposed budget include elimination of weekly green cart pick-up, suspension of contributions to the Community Facility Partnership Grants Program, deferral of spending on trails, reduction in funding to Public Art projects, and some Visitor Information Centre closures.

Proposed fee increases include Solid Waste Tipping Fees, fees for provision of tax information, streets and services permit fees, and fees for criminal record checks.

"The proposed budget represents a fair and balanced approach that addresses the funding gap in HRM while protecting core services and respecting the finite abilities of HRM citizens to shoulder growing tax burdens and additional fees," said Mr. English.

While taking measures to address the funding gap, the proposed budget also includes targeted investment in community and Council priority areas such as Transit expansion and continuation of new infrastructure projects, such as the Central Library, Canada Games Centre, and the 4-Pad Arena in Bedford.

HRM’s inaugural Corporate Plan was also presented to Council this evening. The document is the municipality’s main strategic planning tool, and aligns the programs and services HRM delivers with the needs of residents.

The plan will help to achieve success in six community outcome areas:
• Safe and Welcoming Communities
• Diverse Recreation, Leisure, and Cultural Choices
• Well Planned and Engaged Communities
• Clean and Healthy Environment
• Integrated and Affordable Transportation Networks
• Economic Prosperity.

Halifax Regional Council is scheduled to debate the proposed budget starting on Friday, May 21, 2010.

For more information on the proposed 2010/11 budget and Corporate Plan, please visit www.halifax.ca

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Contact: Dan English
Chief Administrative Officer
490-6430

Cathie O’Toole
Chief Financial Officer
490-6308

 

 

 

Above content last modified Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 8:49am.