A comparison report of Nova Scotia’s municipalities points out Halifax Regional Municipality was spending an above average amount of money on recreation and culture even before the cash-for-concerts scandal came to light.
AIMS’ Second Annual Nova Scotia Municipal Performance Report gives HRM an overall B minus and is ranked 12th out of 55 municipalities.
“It has a C plus in recreation and culture efficiency,” explains policy analyst Jamie Newman. “That doesn’t mimic the concert scandal, but it does show that Halifax is spending above average on recreation and culture events and services.”
According to the report, the C plus suggests Halifax is moderately efficient in handling money in this category and moderately effective in providing those services.
Financial figures for seven different categories are analyzed and individual investments, such as concerts, would not necessarily factor into the report.
If they would, Newman said it would be in the recreation and culture section.
The research was complied before the scandal became public and does not reflect the public’s attitude toward these developments.
A report by the City’s auditor general found that Halifax’s former CAO had made two unauthorized cash advances, of $20,000, to Harold MacKay of Power Promotional Events prior to the 2010 Black Eye Peas and Alan Jackson concerts.
There have been many calls for Mayor Peter Kelly’s resignation as his involvement has unfolded.
Most recently, a senior City officials had been denying services to MacKay Entertainment Inc. in an effort to recoup some of the $359,000 the City claims is still owing on the loans.
Newman stressed that even next year’s report would not reflect the ongoing fiasco at City Hall because of the nature of the report.
“Obviously the media outlets bring to the light of day these more sensational issues that catch the attention of the population,” he said. “What this resource is about, the things that fall behind, that don’t catch the headline, like the day-to-day operations.”
Still, he said the report should be used to show citizens where their tax money is being spent so that they may hold government to account.
“So they can go to council and say, ‘we believe our tax dollars should be invested in other areas,'” he said.