Tax cuts included in newly approved Halifax budget
Budget totalling nearly $1 billion draws compliments from Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Halifax regional council has unanimously approved the new budget for the Halifax Regional Municipality, which totals nearly $1 billion and included a tax cut for almost all homeowners and a majority of businesses.
Councillors rose to commend the budget after the numbers were presented at Tuesday's council meeting.
"It's a good budget. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but this is as good a situation as I could have envisioned," said Coun. Darren Fisher.
"There are all of the things that the public would like to see us have and yet [also] tax cuts."
Nearly 90 per cent of homeowners will get a smaller tax bill, with council's approval to cut the residential tax rate by 1.5 per cent.
For businesses, the rate will decrease by 3.8 per cent, meaning 57 per cent of commercial taxpayers will get a bill either the same or less than last year.
Council also introduced a new fee, which will see property owners pay an additional $39 on their water bill to cover storm water costs.
The state of the municipality's finances drew compliments from at least one unexpected source.
"This is a very good budget for the taxpayers of this city," said Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
"One of the things that was significant about this budget was expenditure control — one of the things we've seen run away from previous municipal councils."
The mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality said he knows big projects in the near future will keep city finance staff on their toes but he remains optimistic.
"I'm very pleased that we're able to manage the resources of the city in an effective way that puts us in a position to take on the challenges of the future without going deeply into debt," said Mayor Mike Savage.
Savage said he understands Halifax is in a lot better shape than most municipalities in the province. While some of that is due to good management, he said some of it amounts to good luck.