Response to COVID-19: Municipal service updates

The Covid Chronicle

**** HRM Media Release

Response to COVID-19: Municipal service updates

The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of COVID-19.

The municipality is committed to taking important steps in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

The following is an update on municipal services.

Tax Deferral

Regional Council has voted to provide immediate relief to both residential and business customers.

These efforts include:

  • The deferral of the interim tax bill due date from April 30, 2020 to June 1, 2020;

  • The suspension of Non-Sufficient Fund fees; and

  • The reduction of the interest rate charged on arrears from 15% per annum to 10% per annum.

With these changes, it is critical that those who can pay their taxes continue do so in a timely fashion. Tax revenue makes up 82% of the municipality’s revenue. Operating expenses total approximately $100 million per month and, while the municipality is financially sound, a significant amount of cashflow is required to provide services, pay vendors and suppliers and continue with capital projects that support the economy.

For more information, including information for residents on a Pre-Authorized Payment (PAP), visit Halifax.ca

Staffing

The difficult decision has been made to reduce budgeted staffing levels by approximately 1,480. These casual, temporary and seasonal employees who normally provide service to the public cannot due to the pandemic.

This number includes more than 500 seasonal employees who are not currently employed, but will no longer be hired this spring and summer as planned, including seasonal recreation staff.

Effective yesterday, the municipality instituted a hiring freeze as part of our goal is to minimize layoffs. We are committed to our staff, and layoffs are not a decision we take lightly.

As with everything COVID-19 related, it is difficult to make predictions about future decisions regarding adjustments to service and staffing levels.

For more information on municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Halifax.ca/coronavirus.

Thank you for helping with the community effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

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