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Aging Infrastructure, Demand for New Assets Driving Budget
(Tuesday, February 19/08)-- Aging infrastructure and the increasing demand for new assets and municipal services will heavily impact the proposed 2008/2009 Budget and Business Plan, Halifax Regional Council was told today.
Chief Administrative Officer Dan English suggested to Mayor Kelly and Councillors this morning that the time has come for HRM to re-examine its Multi-Year Financial Strategy in an effort to free-up additional funds for increased Capital investment.
"For the first time this year, we'll be including a detailed presentation on our aging infrastructure and asset needs in the overall Business Plan and Budget process," he said.
"Like all other municipalities in Canada, we have infrastructure that needs to be replaced and modernized. In addition, we have a growing population that is demanding greater access to our services. Unfortunately, there is only a finite amount of money to go around, that's why it is so important that Council sets the priorities and continues to make the difficult decisions."
In his introduction to the first phase of the new Budget and Business Planning process presented to Council, Mr. English told members they have no control over increased costs, such as electricity, heating fuel and other goods and services, so they must focus on this things they can control, like where, and how much, tax dollars will be spent and what municipal services can be delivered to residents within the total Budget envelope.
"Where we invest in our existing assets and people, we continue to better serve our communities. We must be wise about how we deliver services and ensure their success. Making the service commitment is the easy part," Mr. English said. "The challenge is providing the resources to meet our service commitment or making the tough decisions to reduce service standards, if adequate resources are not available. As an organization, we have reached the point where the service commitment can not be maintained without further investment. We will be looking for your direction in this area."
The proposed 2008/2009 Operating and Capital Budgets are expected to be presented to Halifax Regional Council in early April.
Chief Administrative Officer