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Halifax council looks to pass a 6.2 per cent property tax increase for new budget


Homeowners in Halifax will pay more municipal taxes this coming year, but exactly how much remains uncertain as council continues to debate the rate hike.

Finance staff presented and list of budget adjustments on Tuesday that found $8.8 million in revenue savings, which brings the property tax hike down to 6.2 per cent.

That works out to an estimated $185 in additional charges to the average residential property tax bill.

Councillor Waye Mason said this tax hike is in part due to a pattern of undercharging in previous years and the record growth the municipality has been witnessing.

"What we are seeing right now is a huge demand for new services because the population is growing but we don't really see the property tax increase coming in for the new houses and new apartments, as fast as the population is growing," said Mason. "That's like five to 10 years out."

With rapid growth and increasing population come challenges, like the need to expand services and infrastructure to meet the demand.

Councillor Patty Cuttel says the growth we are seeing isn't paying for the growth right now, and the municipality needs to rethink its financial objectives moving forward so services can remain at least 'status-quo' without raising taxes to levels that people can't afford.

"We can't have everything or we could but then our taxes would be above and beyond the roof," said Cuttell. "That's why it's critically important that find a new framework for municipal funding, otherwise it's going to fall on the back of the property taxpayer and that's just not sustainable."

In November, finance staff recommended a 15 per cent property tax increase, the largest ever. Since then, council has cut that rate down to eight per cent in January and today with additional cuts it's looking closer to 6.2 per cent.

Council will return to the budget process on April 23 and look to pass a final vote and approve the 2024-25 budget.

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