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Council receives fiscal update: Need to address projected $13.9 million funding gap

(Tuesday, November 23, 2010) - HRM Regional Council today began what will be challenging discussions on a funding gap of approximately $13.9 million for the 2011-12 budget year, and a means of addressing future funding gaps.

Following the 2010-11 budget deliberations, HRM staff was instructed to return to Council this fall with a combined total of $13 million (recent projections show the figure to be $13.9 million) through savings, efficiencies and revenues.

More than 300 suggestions from Council members, staff, and members of the public were received and reviewed. Some of the suggestions have been implemented, some have gone forward as realistic opportunities for cost savings in the budget year ahead, others require further consideration, while still others were not workable for a variety of reasons. A full list of the ideas and the outcomes of their consideration can be found on the HRM website at:

It is evident that the anticipated 2011/12 revenue-to-expenditure gap of approximately $13.9 million cannot be addressed solely through finding efficiencies, and that a longer range approach to future budget years is needed. Council heard from HRM Chief Financial Officer Cathie O’Toole that the rate of investment in new capital assets, in extending and expanding services, and in hiring employees to provide those services must slow unless revenue is increased to meet expenditures.

Mayor Peter Kelly said Council will have a healthy debate about the funding gap.

“We will no doubt have some difficult decisions to make to ensure this municipality produces a balanced budget that serves our citizens in a way that is responsive to their needs and fiscally prudent,” he said. “This is a challenge, but it can certainly be met.”

Staff is recommending filling the funding gap for 2011-12 fiscal year through the following measures:

• Continue to identify efficiencies and service reductions;
• Continue to generate savings by managing position vacancies;
• And, decrease the amount of capital funding that is transferred from the operating budget.

Staff has also recommended that while growth must be kept in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), HRM must continue to make targeted investments to aid in economic growth needed to sustain programs and services in years to come.

Debate on the approach to a balanced budget for 2011-12 will continue with a Council workshop on Dec. 13 and 14.

To view the staff report go to:



Mayor Peter Kelly

Shaune MacKinlay
HRM Public Affairs Manager


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