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Surrey city council to discuss proposed tax hike Monday

Click to play video: 'Surrey policing uncertainty impacting tax hike proposal'
Surrey policing uncertainty impacting tax hike proposal
Surrey city council will be back in session Monday to tackle a proposed double-digit tax hike. The suggested increase has been lowered to 12.5 percent as the city dips into a provincial fund but as Kamil Karamali reports, it's feared no other cost savings to taxpayers will be found given the uncertainty over the future of policing – Apr 2, 2023

Surrey city council will be back in session Monday and will again tackle a proposed double-digit tax hike.

The suggested increase has been lowered to 12.5 per cent as the city has received provincial funding.

In February, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke announced the proposed tax hike will be a whopping 17 and a half per cent in the 2023 budget.

Newly allocated provincial funding of nearly $90 million will now cut that down to 12.5 per cent, which would reduce the tax increase for the average Surrey homeowner from $460 down to $280.

Most of the tax hike is to pay for two police forces.

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Locke, who was not available for comment Sunday, pledged to keep the Surrey RCMP detachment and scrap the transition to a municipal police force.

The decision is now in the hands of the solicitor general but time is of the essence.

“There are too many assumptions around our police transition that I can’t support, I want the real numbers,” said Linda Annis, a city councillor.

“Surrey residents can’t afford a 12.5 per cent increase in taxes and also our businesses will also be getting it.”

Surrey councillors are hoping for an answer from the province before Monday night’s council meeting where the new tax increase will be brought forward.

The B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General offered a statement Sunday.

“As Minister Farnworth has said previously, a decision will be announced by early May, before City of Surrey tax notices are issued. No decision has been made at this time,” a spokesperson said in an email.

“The ministry continues its analysis which will inform the advice and recommendations from the Director of Police Services on the safety of the plans submitted by the City of Surrey, RCMP, and the Surrey Police Service.

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“This analysis requires time to complete and is critical to our responsibility of maintaining public safety in Surrey, the wider region and across the province.”

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