Halifax council passes budget, approves purchase of armoured police vehicle

Halifax has a budget for the upcoming year after the majority of the municipality’s council voted in favour of the proposed budget on Tuesday.

The budget will see $955.7 million in expenditures, with $162 million going to the Province of Nova Scotia as part of a mandatory expenditure covering education and other services.

The municipality has budgeted $793.7 million in municipal expenses, including $19.4 million for the Cogswell redevelopment project, $15.7 million for new Halifax Transit buses, $10.6 for new transit technology and $10 million for the Spring Garden Road streetscaping project.

Council have also agreed to a budget including $8.4 million for the new St. Andrew’s Community Centre and $5.3 million for renovations at the Scotiabank Centre.

But by far, the most controversial was a $500,000 budget line that is designated for Halifax Regional Police to purchase an armoured rescue vehicle.

It comes on the heels of a report that detailed how Nova Scotians of colour in Halifax were street-checked at a rate six times higher than white people in the city, and critics of the vehicle expressed concern that it could make the police service seem militaristic, especially to minority groups in the city.

Shawn Cleary, councillor for Halifax West Armdale, introduced an amendment to strip the item from the budget.

Only councillors Lindell Smith, Matt Whitman, Sam Austin, Tony Mancini and Cleary voted in favour of the motion.

Halifax police will now be in the market for something similar to what Fredericton police unveiled in 2018.

Deputy Police Chief Martin Gaudet poses with the Fredericton Police Force’s new armoured vehicle on April 19, 2018,

Police stress that an ARV would not be equipped with weaponry or “aggressive equipment.” The vehicle is expected to cost between $350,000 and $500,000.

Council decided last month to increase the municipality’s average tax bill by 2.3 per cent or $43.

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