The federal government has approved using $54 million in stimulus funds to build a new Halifax library---the cost to be split three ways between the federal, provincial and city governments.
But how will the city come up with its portion of the money?
That question was discussed at Tuesday's council meeting, and while no decision has been reached, it appears that council is leaning towards borrowing against its future gas tax receipts to pay for a total of about $85 million in stimulus projects (see "Feds stimulate city's wish fulfillment," April 30, and next week's paper for more on how stimulus money was doled out in Halifax).
One proposal would see the city borrow $100 million and pay it off with the next four years of $25 million gas tax receipts. Such a tactic will require amending the city's debt policy, but city staff argues that this is acceptable because interest rates are very low, and because the city is in a good financial position, having reduced its 1999 debt of $350 million to a present-day $280 million.
Council will likely discuss funding for the library this Tuesday, and the debt strategy the week after.