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City of Surrey losing $4 million per month during COVID-19 crisis

The City of Surrey says its losing millions of dollars every month because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The City of Surrey says its losing millions of dollars every month because of the COVID-19 crisis. Google Street View

The City of Surrey says it is losing $4 million a month during the COVID-19 crisis, and if the trend continues, could face a budget shortfall of up to $42 million by year’s end.

Mayor Doug McCallum said the city’s finances would be worse if staff hadn’t taken action as early as it did.

READ MORE: Surrey Hospital Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund garners ‘overwhelming’ support

“While there remains a financial burden to bear, we are ensuring that the city’s fiscal house remains stable as we concentrate on delivering the services that are within the mandate of the city,” he said in a statement.

Council is considering extending the due date for property taxes from July 2 to Sept. 2.

Municipalities across the province are grappling with the financial effects of the pandemic.

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Vancouver city council discusses financial crisis brought about by COVID-19
Vancouver city council discusses financial crisis brought about by COVID-19

On Tuesday, Vancouver city council met to discuss measures to address a projected funding shortfall of up to $5 million per week as revenue from parking, permits, bylaw fines and park board facilities plummets.

Council is also concerned that as many as 25 per cent of homeowners could default on their property taxes, while the city remains beholden to other levels of government to pass those dollars on.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the province has denied requests for emergency grants to help shore up the city’s operating costs.

The City of Port Coquitlam is reducing all non-essential spending, putting a cashflow plan in place and placing a hold on external hiring except for critical positions.

— With files from Simon Little and Janet Brown

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