CBRM staff meet with province over budget woes
Mayor Cecil Clarke says meeting positive, hopes for financial help
Bureaucrats with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality had a conference call Friday with provincial officials as they tried to reach agreement on the municipality's budget figures.
Mayor Cecil Clarke has outlined how the region is facing a $3 million to $5 million budget shortfall, which he blames in part on costs downloaded from the province.
The mayor is looking for financial support from the province and he’s previously accused provincial bureaucrats of not giving correct information to Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey.
The mayor said Friday’s meeting by teleconference with provincial officials was positive.
"Our request for financial support to be able to balance the books is also predicated on the fact we know next year we have to change how we interact, how we do business, because it is not sustainable for us to keep going year after year," Clarke said.
"There is a systemic problem in place; I believe it’s across Nova Scotia.'
Clarke said provincial staff will work over the weekend on the numbers — and have requested more information from CBRM.
CBRM staff have recommended a series of cost-saving measures to balance the budget, including cuts to transit spending, slashing 40 jobs over five years and closing Centennial Arena in Sydney.
Clarke acknowledged there's still some way to go after Friday’s discussion, but said he remains hopeful the province and the federal government will help close the gap on the budget shortfall.