A 2014 Google Streetview image shows Station 11 on Patton Road in Upper Sackville. Credit: Zane Woodford

The Halifax Examiner is providing all COVID-19 coverage for free.

Halifax councillors are opting for smaller cuts to police and fire services, meaning fewer police positions will be left vacant and a fire station in Upper Sackville will remain open.

Council’s budget committee voted in favour of two motions from Coun. Tony Mancini at its meeting on Tuesday. The motions reduce cuts to Halifax Regional Police and Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency budgets to $3.5 million.

They’d started the recast COVID-19 budget process with cuts of $5.5 million and $5.4 million, respectively. Councillors approved a motion from Mancini last week to seek options for lesser cuts for both departments of $4.5 million and $3.5 million. On Tuesday, they went with $3.5 million.

For the police budget, the reduced cut means there will only be 12 positions left vacant this year, as opposed to 28 in the original proposal.

There will still be 30 positions left vacant in the fire department this year, but the original plan to close Station 11 (Upper Sackville) and reduce staffing at either Station 56 (Black Point) and 50 (Hammonds Plains) or 60 (Herring Cove) and move the staff to Station 28 (Sheet Harbour) is now off the table. The $3.5 million cut also means the department will restore funding to a volunteer firefighter honorarium and most of the funding for a PTSD treatment program.

They’ve yet to finalize the plan, along with the rest of the city’s recast COVID-19 budget. Municipal staff will come back to council’s budget committee with funding options.

Chief financial officer Jane Fraser told councillors on Tuesday that they have about $16 million available in one-time surplus money from the 2019-2020 budget. They could also choose not to put $12 million in the city’s reserve accounts this year, freeing that money up for the budget.

In the meantime, council’s budget committee will meet again on Thursday morning to continue the process of picking and choosing from a list of items for which they’d like to restore funding. The budget is expected to be finalized on June 9.

The Halifax Examiner is an advertising-free, subscriber-supported news site. Your subscription makes this work possible; please subscribe.

Some people have asked that we additionally allow for one-time donations from readers, so we’ve created that opportunity, via the PayPal button below. We also accept e-transfers, cheques, and donations with your credit card; please contact iris “at” halifaxexaminer “dot” ca for details.

Thank you!

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
    1. Police: 14-2, with Hendsbee and Whitman voting no. Fire: unanimous.