On Wednesday, February 12, the Committee Of The Whole (HRM Council, but in a different format) approved the 2020/21 Operating Budget. Late last year we also approved the Capital Budget. These two budgets, together, are expected to come back to Regional Council on March 24 for Council approval.

I would like to share with you, so far, what has been agreed to by the Committee Of The Whole, and what we expect to see on March 24. Any changes from this are difficult but will be possible.

We have had a good year with respect to an increase in assessments, and we saw a one time bump in the deed transfer tax. Much of this was due to so many new apartments coming online.

The debt did not increase at all, and neither did the residential tax rate. All of the new expenditures were funded from the increase in assessment, a one time bump in the deed transfer tax, and one project (the Keshen Goodman Library) was funded from reserves (one of our savings accounts).

Property Tax Changes

The most commonly asked question is: “Will my taxes be going up?”. The answer is “sort of, but not much”.

The tax bill is a calculation of the property assessment multiplied by the tax rate. The assessment is determined by the Property Valuation Services Commission and is completely outside of the control of HRM. HRM can only determine what the tax rate is. Additionally, there is one tax rate for residential properties and a different rate for commercial properties.

For the 2020/21 budget year the residential tax rate will not change, but the commercial tax rate will see a modest increase of 0.012%.

The examples below use the average residential property assessment and commercial property assessment. These show that the average commercial tax bill will rise by $585 and that the average residential tax bill will rise by $27 (for the full year). This is an increase of 1.4% in the average tax bill.

Commercial 2019/20 2020/21 2020/21
Change In Assessment Tax Rate
Average Assessment  1,425,700  1,439,500  1,439,500
Tax Rate 2.988% 2.988% 3.000%
Average Tax Bill 42,600 43,012 43,185
Difference 412 173


Residential 2019/20 2020/21 2020/21
Change In Assessment Tax Rate
Average Assessment  242,400  245,800  245,800
Tax Rate 0.815% 0.815% 0.815%
Average Tax Bill 1,976 2,003 2,003
Difference 27 0

So yes, if you own an average home then your taxes will be going up by about $27 for the year. This is all due to an increase in the assessment.

Debt Changes

There are no changes. We did not increase the debt at all.


We will be discussing the final budget in an upcoming Council meeting. I’ll present the rest of the details — including what we spent — at that time.