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2003/2004 Proposed Operating & Capital Budget

(Tuesday, March 4/2003- 6pm)- Creating value, meeting demand and prudent planning are the main goals behind the proposed 2003/2004 Operating and Capital Budget for Halifax Regional Municipality, being tabled today for review by Regional Council.

Despite continued, significant growth in the municipality, increased costs and pressure to provide more service, it is recommended that the tax rates remain flat for 2003/2004. HRM's Chief Administrative Officer, George McLellan said," The decision to recommend holding the tax rate is not taken lightly, as HRM's aging assets require extensive investment over the long term and this remains a real challenge".

Assessment impacts for the upcoming year show the average home increasing in value by 5.4% and new construction equal to a 3% increase, with commercial assessments up a total of 7 %. With property taxes remaining flat, property tax revenues will increase by $25 million.

He advised, "The good news is that HRM's debt has continued to decline, by the amount of $7.5 million or 2.4% in the upcoming year. This marks the first time the debt has been below $300 million since the impacts of amalgamation, beginning in 1996-1997. He added, "Our aim is to deliver a balanced budget, keep debt down and focus on investment and infrastructure".

Despite the challenges faced by the municipality, progress has been made in a number of areas over the past fiscal year, including the Harbour Solutions Project, the acquisition of 32 new replacement transit buses, moving forward with the construction of the North Preston Recreation Centre, the Beaver Bank Sewer and Water system, Regional Planning and the Halifax Regional Police Study.

In response to the proposed 2003/2004 Operating & Capital Budget, Mayor Peter Kelly said,

"With growth comes many challenges and a responsibility to meet the public's demands. Therefore, paying down our debt, investing in our assets and building our capital, we can strive to meet those responsibilities."

The 2003/04 HRM budget will be presented to Committee of the Whole, March 17th through 21st, with approval expected on March 25th.


Dale MacLennan, Director of Financial Services
(902) 490-6308


Bruce Fisher, Manager Financial Planning
(902) 490-4493

HRM Budget 2003 Bullets:


  • budget is balanced, with no additions to the debt and tax rate remains flat


  • HRM continues debt decline trend, this year by $7.5m (2.4%)
  • this is the first time since amalgamation debt has been below $300m
  • debt has declined by 14.5% since 1998


  • staff recommendation is for tax rates to remain flat for 2003-04
  • assessment increasing by 5.4% residential, 3% new construction and 7% commercial

Building value-

  • Harbour Solutions begun
  • 32 new Metro Transit buses on the road
  • Regional Planning: Phase II
  • Salt management plan

New initiatives-

  • Artificial Soccer Turf (double field)
  • Beaver Bank sewer and water
  • North Preston Recreation Centre
  • improvements in on-line services
  • emergency communication
  • investment in rural fire services
  • enhancement in transit services

Prudent planning-

  • "save as you go": New Capital Reserves added
  • increases Operating Reserves
  • following Standard & Poor's recommendations on Reserve Funds
Above content last modified Thursday, November 02, 2023 at 11:40am.