MUNICIPAL SERVICE UPDATES
HRM 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.
Halifax Partnership Virtual Adviser Program
Halifax Partnership recently introduced a new Virtual Adviser Program, powered by their partner, BoomersPlus.com. The program will help businesses overcome an obstacle brought forward by COVID-19. 25 businesses will be matched to an experienced member of the BoomersPlus community of professionals to help them develop solutions. Businesses can apply and learn more about the Virtual Adviser Program here. The deadline to apply is June 5, 2020.
The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of COVID-19. The municipality had suspended the enforcement of paid and hourly parking across the municipality in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As the Province begins to ease restrictions and businesses resume operations, paid parking, hourly parking and enforcement will be resuming effective June 1, 2020. Below is an update on impacted services:
- Meters: All parking meters will be “on” and enforced effective June 1 in all areas across the municipality. HotSpot will be reactivated, and all meters will require payment. All bagged meters will continue to be enforced.
- Time-restricted parking and loading: All time-restricted (1 hr., 2 hr. etc.) parking and loading zones (temporary or permanent) will be timed and enforced effective June 1. New temporary 15-minute parking zones have been installed to facilitate the short- term pick up needs of restaurants and other business.
- Accessible Parking: Will continue to be fully enforced.
- Permits: All parking permits expiring in March through to June will remain valid until customer service centres reopen. This includes monthly and residential parking permits. Parking Permit zones will be enforced. Once customer service centres reopen, next steps for parking permits purchasing and enforcement will be communicated on the website.
- Tow-away zones and transit priority lanes: Will continue to be enforced.
For more information on municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Halifax.ca/coronavirus.
Halifax Transit has implemented additional COVID-19 related safety measures to reduce the spread of disease. These changes significantly reduces capacity and as a result, transit should be used for essential travel ONLY. Those who are feeling ill should not use any transit service until their health returns to normal.
- Alternating seats are blocked off with appropriate signage.
- This measure further reduces capacity by approximately 50 per cent depending on the model of bus.
- Please note: The caution tape that was previously at the front of the bus separating the operator from passengers has been replaced with a yellow cord as a barricade. Additional signage will be in place indicating which seats are reserved for passengers with mobility needs.
- Passengers will continue to use the rear doors unless the front door is required for accessibility.
- Halifax Transit has implementing a 30% service reduction on weekdays. See more details here. Effective Monday, June 22, conventional bus service will be increased to 84 per cent of normal operating levels. Currently, service is operating at 63 per cent of normal operating levels. Further information, including detailed route adjustments, will be available in the coming weeks and will be communicated with as much notice as possible.
- Beginning May 30, Halifax Transit will increase capacity on conventional buses by once again allowing passengers to stand. A maximum of five passengers will be permitted to stand on conventional buses, at any given time.
- Standing passengers are asked to monitor physical distancing and should avoid positioning themselves immediately next to seated passengers or other standing passengers. Alternating seats will continue to be blocked off with appropriate signage.
- As of July 24, 2020, all passengers and drivers on public transportation (including municipal transit buses and ferries, school buses, community transit vehicles and private taxis and shuttles) are required to wear non-medical masks. Children under 2 and people with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask are exempt. Those who are feeling ill should not use any transit service until their health returns to normal.
- Beginning Wednesday, June 3, Halifax Transit will increase ferry capacity from 25 passengers per trip to 40 passengers per trip. Passengers are asked to monitor physical distancing and should avoid positioning themselves immediately next to other passengers.
- Effective Monday, June 8, the following service increase will go into effect for the Alderney Ferry.
- 30-minute service on weekdays from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm.
- 30-minute service on weekends from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm.
- There are no changes to Woodside Ferry service at this time. Service will remain at a 30-minute frequency during peak period on weekdays.
- Alternating seats are blocked off with signage at some terminals.
Find more information on Halifax Transit's safety measures here.
On Friday, May 1, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced the opening of all municipal and provincial parks. Learn more here.