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Province Allows HRM to Borrow Directly on Harbour Project
(Friday, March 1/2002)-- Another major hurdle has been cleared in Halifax Regional Council's commitment to undertake the long-awaited Harbour Solutions Project.
Mayor Peter Kelly said today the Province of Nova Scotia has agreed to allow HRM to borrow directly from the financial money market to help finance its share of the estimated $262 million infrastructure project.
Regional Council has committed to funding two-thirds of the total project cost, and HRM is continuing to seek joint funding from the Federal and Nova Scotia governments on the remaining one-third.
Mayor Kelly said the recent provincial approval is limited to the issuance of debentures for the Harbour Solutions Project only, and that HRM would continue to support the Nova Scotia Municipal Finance Corporation through its normal borrowing requirements related to legislated local government purposes.
On behalf of Halifax Regional Council, the Mayor commended Municipal Affairs Minister Angus MacIsaac for approving HRM's request and said that the municipality looked forward to future cooperation between the two governments as new matters arise.
Mayor Kelly stated in a letter to Mr. MacIsaac, that "we (HRM) would envisage, in the future, requiring similar approvals for special purposes that may arise as we confront the ever-challenging, but exciting, future for HRM."
He said this new approach is in the best interests of all concerned, because it provides less of a challenge to the ceiling that appears to be in place on the total amount of borrowing the Province will allow for all municipal units throughout Nova Scotia.
Also, Mayor Kelly reiterated HRM's request for cost-sharing by the Province on the Harbour Solutions Project.
He said " Although we understand that the Province has limited resources to contribute to the Project as well, we still wish to explore with the Province the opportunity to re-capture those funds that would be regenerated from Harbour Solutions, such as Income Tax and Provincial Sales Tax ."
The Mayor added "If the Province were to consider rebating these new revenues back to HRM, its portion of the total project cost would be generated entirely by the project itself. No new money would have to be taken from existing revenue streams."
Mayor Peter Kelly