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Surrey draft budget includes 2.9 per cent tax increase, mayor says

WATCH: Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and his council are being criticized for setting aside millions of dollars worth of revitalization plans. Aaron McArthur reports.

As Surrey council begins budget deliberations, the mayor says taxpayers could be looking at a 2.9 per cent tax hike.

Doug McCallum said the proposed plan would put the city in a better fiscal situation and allow it “to be more flexible in the future.”

The five-year budget suggests the city bring down its debt by delaying projects like a new Cloverdale Ice Complex that was slated to open in the summer of 2020.

READ MORE: Cloverdale hockey parents still waiting for 2 sheets of ice promised by Surrey

The draft budget shows the city has already approved $316 million in debt and would add nearly $200 million more in the next four years to complete capital projects.

McCallum says his plan would reduce the city’s debt by $136 million by delaying projects and save $9.5 million in interest payments every year.

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WATCH: Surrey mayor releases draft budget, shelving some projects to deal with debt

Surrey mayor releases draft budget, shelving some projects to deal with debt
Surrey mayor releases draft budget, shelving some projects to deal with debt

McCallum says even though council has decided to postpone a number of big projects, the public will still have a chance to have its say.

“It’s very transparent and the public has the ability to write in over the next couple of weeks their comments to us, which we will look at and read,” he said.

READ MORE: Surrey’s draft budget calls for postponement of several major projects

The city is also on track to have its own police force within two years, according to McCallum, who said the transition is “coming along fairly well.”

“It’s probably going a little quicker than I even expected,” he said. “People are working together towards getting our own police force. We are working exceptionally hard.”

Next step, he says, is a report to the provincial government by the end of January or beginning of February to update transition efforts.

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