Nova Scotia

Halifax regional council tables revised billion-dollar budget

Details of Halifax's revised billion-dollar budget program were made available Friday. The post-pandemic version includes $955 million in operating costs for municipal services and $149 million for capital projects.

Post-pandemic version includes $955 in operating costs, $149 million for capital projects

HRM is expected to approve a revised budget on Tuesday that will result in a 1.4 per cent increase to the average tax bill, both residential and commercial. That remains unchanged from the pre-pandemic proposals. (Robert Short/CBC)

Details of Halifax's revised billion-dollar budget program were made available Friday.

The post-pandemic version includes $955 million in operating costs for municipal services and $149 million for capital projects.

If approved, there would be a 1.4 per cent increase to the average tax bill, both residential and commercial. That remains unchanged from the pre-pandemic proposals.

Municipal finance staff had recommended cutting $85.4 million to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

HRM councillors reinstated some of the projects and programs. The overall cut now totals $73.1 million.

The revised budget will take part of last year's surplus to help pay for operating costs.

Finance officials also have advised borrowing $130 million from the province to help ease some of the municipality's cash-flow problems.

Friday's report said that money would have to be paid back within three years, but that there are negotiations to extend that period to five years.

87 per cent of taxes paid

As of Thursday, HRM had received $329.5 million in property taxes, or 87 per cent of the amount due. That means $50 million has not been paid.

Finance officials said 1-2 per cent is normally outstanding after the property tax deadline in a typical year.

There is also a recommendation to take $12 million from one of Halifax's reserve accounts to use to share costs of any approved infrastructure projects with Ottawa and the province.

Council is expected to approve the revised budget proposal on Tuesday.

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