Here's how much candidates raised for the 2020 Halifax municipal election
More details are available about the money raised and spent during Halifax's municipal election last October.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, who was re-elected, raised the most out of all candidates at $104,635, according to his campaign contribution statements. His opponents, Matt Whitman and Max Taylor, raised $19,030 and $8,599, respectively.
The amount raised by council candidates ranged from $1,100 to $20,000.
The 2020 election looked different from previous years — both due to COVID-19, and due to new rules about where campaign donations could come from.
Candidates can no longer accept money from corporations or unions. There's also a maximum amount for individual donations — $1,000 for council candidates and $2,500 to mayoral candidates — and a $15,000 limit on how much candidates and their spouses can give to their own campaigns.
As well, campaign spending was limited to $30,000 for council candidates and $300,000 for mayoral candidates.
Expenses also have to be listed, and if there are surpluses, they can either be donated to charities or held for the next election.
Nearly $10,000 of the money raised for Savage's campaign went unspent. He said he will split the remaining surplus between Feed Nova Scotia and Shelter Nova Scotia.
"I didn't see the need to leave the money there [for a future election.] If I run again, I'll go out and raise more money," Savage said.
He said the new rules around campaign financing are a "really good step," though he believes the city should review how the election went to see if "there's more that we can do to bring accountability."
Coun. Sam Austin, who was re-elected for Dartmouth Centre, raised $15,369.40. After the costs of the campaign, he was left with a surplus of about $1,000.
While it's "far too early" to say if he will run again, Austin said the surplus will be donated to charity if he doesn't.
"Basically, I've just kept my options open for it," he said.
Spryfield-Sambro Loop-Prospect Road Coun. Patty Cuttell is the only other council candidate to hang onto their surplus for a future election, though a part of it will be donated to charity.
Austin said the new rules tightened up the system for reporting contributions and expenses. Previously, he said there were "basically no rules."
"The only rule was you had to disclose any donations over $50, and that was it. You didn't have to disclose what money you might have put in yourself, or what you might have taken in that was worth less than $50, or what you spent that money on," he said.
Austin said there is still room for improvement, though. He suggested it's time to look at how we fund elections.