Nova Scotia

Halifax council approves property tax increase that's smaller than planned

The increase to property taxes in the Halifax region will be slightly less than was proposed by city staff last November, 4.6 per cent rather than 5.9 per cent.

'I think this is the responsible thing to do,' says Coun. Kathryn Morse

Halifax council's decision to adopt a smaller property tax increase means it will need to borrow $56 million more to make up the difference. (Robert Short/CBC)

The increase to property taxes in the Halifax region will be slightly less than was proposed by city staff last November, 4.6 per cent rather than 5.9 per cent.

The change will require $56 million more in borrowing to cover major construction projects, road repairs and climate change programs.

"I think this is the responsible thing to do, to fund the climate program now, I wouldn't feel comfortable kicking it down the road," said Coun. Kathryn Morse.

Other councillors were looking for an even greater reduction.

"This is going to have a huge impact," said Coun. Trish Purdy. "It could push some people over the edge of being able to meet their financial obligations."

Finance officials are working on changes to its grant program for low-income property owners. They plan to link the threshold to a living wage, increasing the number of people who would be eligible for the program.

The overall impact on property tax bills won't be clear until councillors adopt a tax rate. Detailed debate on each department's proposed budget has to happen first.

Presentations begin on Feb. 2.

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