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Pick your poison: Tax hikes, service cuts may be needed to stay in the black

Haligonians could face service cuts, bus fare increases or even taxhikes as regional council begins figuring out next year’s budget.

Haligonians could face service cuts, bus fare increases or even tax hikes as regional council begins figuring out next year’s budget.

Staff say something’s got to give. Last year’s operating budget was $557 million.

Staff estimate extra costs will drive that number up $28 million more just to offer the same level of service this year.

At a committee of the whole meeting yesterday afternoon, some councillors spoke in favour of raising bus fares, though several rejected the idea of widespread tax hikes.

Due to legislation, HRM can’t run an operating deficit.

There’s also a hunt to cut down “inefficiencies,” and for good reason.

A few years ago HRM hired a telecommunications analyst that has saved the city $592,000 through things like billing corrections and picking better cellphone plans.

But it wasn’t all bad news yesterday. Fred Morley of the Greater Halifax Partnership told council that the global recession hasn’t hit Halifax yet.

He said that by the time it fully hits, the rest of the world should be pulling itself back together, keeping us from falling too deep.

 
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