HRM borrows ‘to go further’
The city will have more money to spend on road improvements,recreational facilities and transit under a borrowing scheme HalifaxRegional Council endorsed during budget talks yesterday.
The city will have more money to spend on road improvements, recreational facilities and transit under a borrowing scheme Halifax Regional Council endorsed during budget talks yesterday.
Although some councillors appeared uneasy about taking on more debt, the majority spoke in favour of capitalizing on the opportunity to move forward on items that had been left out of the proposed capital budget.
“Debt is a liability, but I’ll tell you what else is a liability — a stagnant municipality is a liability, deteriorating infrastructure is a liability,” Lower Sackville Coun. Bob Harvey said. “This enables us to go further.”
The decision gives the go-ahead to city staff to access an additional $28 million for capital projects.
Most of that money ($22 million) is the result of leveraging a portion of additional capacity to this year’s capital budget, which comes from decrease in debt-service charges and totals $5.3 million. The city will borrow against $3 million of those funds, and use the rest to cover the operating costs that arise from new capital projects.
The remaining $6 million relates to a growth factor.
It means the city has another debt, to be repaid over the next 10 years. But staff stressed yesterday that the decision would not increase the tax rate after several councillors expressed concern.