Budget provides sought after stability

April 9, 2015

"No surprises" for municipality in budget

SYDNEY, NS - Councillors will not have to go back to adjust the municipal budget they passed two weeks ago.

Today's provincial budget contained no significant surprises for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Equalization remained the same as last year. Other provincially mandated costs to the municipality rose slightly overall.

"After two difficult budget years, we are pleased this year that we have received the stability we sought," said Mayor Cecil Clarke. "I commend the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs for working with us to better manage these challenges."

"We are encouraged that the province appears to be willing to move forward with changes to our relationship," said Clarke. "Our city is on record as supporting the recommendations contained in the fiscal review report including a new partnership with the province."

The CBRM and three other Cape Breton counties (Richmond, Victoria and Inverness) have joined together to pursue economic development through a "Regional Enterprise Network". Clarke says it's early to assess the impact of the changes to the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

"As a whole, we are working together on Cape Breton with our economic development partners across the island. We will continue to do so. Provincial support for these efforts is critical for success so we look forward to hearing the province's new approach," he added.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality's recent budgets have held the line on tax rates while reducing the municipality's workforce by 5 per cent.

The 2015/16 budget numbers provided by the province:

Municipal contribution to provincial government:

Education: $13,033,874 (was $12,713,774 last year. Increase of $320,100)
Corrections: $1,093,969 (was $1,102,720 last year. Decrease of $8,751)
Roads: $1,062,089 (was $1,046,426 last year. Increase of $15,663)

Grants to CBRM:

Equalization from Province of NS: 15,335,838 (same)
NSPI Grant In Lieu of Taxes: $2,360,814 (was $2,299,974 last year. Increase of $60,840)