Halifax’s managing director wants to use the heated housing market to pay 15 new HRM employees.
Jacques Dubé proposed the change at a council session on Wednesday.
“HRM has ambitions for a big city, but we only have resources like a medium-sized municipality,” he said.
CAO pointed out that Halifax has 110 strategies and staff are currently working on 202 reports. Dube said that the addition of new federal government programs, such as the Rapid Housing Initiative, the team is stretching very thin.
The total cost of additional employees would be about $ 2.25 million. Dube said the money could come from transfer taxes on securities collected from the sale of properties.
“The market is heated, for 2021 we are projecting transfer fees for deeds of US $ 60 million. This is a 50% increase over the budgeted amount, ”said Dube.
Con. Waye Mason supported the proposal.
“We don’t have enough engineers, we don’t have enough planners, we don’t have enough staff to meet our ambitions,” said Mason.
Vote at the end of this month
Other board members were concerned. Con. David Hendsbee is concerned with insuring taxes, but Dubé assured the council that between the surplus and the reserves, no further tax increases would be necessary.
Meanwhile, count. Shawn Cleary said he would like to see a list of the type of employees who need to be hired. Cleary was the only one who voted against considering the idea.
Mayor Mike Savage does not believe that all the money is needed and would like to see quarterly reports on who is hired.
“I’m not entirely comfortable adding that carte blanche,” said Savage. “I am not going to discuss the amount now because it will come back for discussion.”
The final vote on the proposal will take place on April 21, when the regional council deals with a long list of extras in the budget, including a dozen extra employees for the planning department to reduce waiting times for development licenses.