Surrey’s draft 2024 budget proposes 7% tax hike

The City of Surrey released its 2024 draft operating budget Monday, which includes a proposed seven per cent tax hike.

The increased levies planned for British Columbia’s second largest city by population have been broken down as a six per cent general property tax increase and a one per cent roads and traffic tax.

“I am pleased to present a forward-thinking budget that considers the needs of our ever-growing population while being mindful of the financial stresses our residents face during these times of inflation,” Mayor Brenda Locke said in a statement.

City staff say the increases will cost the average single-family household around $177.

In a release, the city says the general property tax will help cover general inflationary pressures and citywide operations.

It will also cover the hiring of 26 police officers, 20 firefighters and 10 new bylaw officers.

“My priority is meeting the needs of our residents while being as fiscally prudent as possible,” said Locke.

“This budget includes a set amount for policing that is predicated on an authorized strength of a minimum of 785 officers to ensure funding is in place for adequate and effective policing for Surrey.”

The city is currently policed by both the RCMP and the Surrey Police Service (SPS), as the transition to the municipal force continues — a process Locke remains opposed to. 

Tension on council

Not all city councillors agree the budget is fiscally responsible.

In a release, the Safe Surrey Coalition, which includes councillors Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra, called the tax hike unjustifiable, adding that it disregards the financial struggles of families.

A white woman with short blonde hair scowls while delivering a news conference.
Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke has been at odds with both members of her council and the province over her determination to keep the RCMP policing the city. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Safe Surrey also said Locke’s “personal vendetta and petty politics in her crusade to keep the RCMP in Surrey” has cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The coalition is the party of former mayor Doug McCallum, who first initiated the city’s transition to the SPS.

Locke campaigned for mayor on a promise to keep the RCMP. 

“The fact is, Surrey Police Service is eating into our ability to deliver new projects,” said Locke.

City council members will consider the draft budget at a public meeting on April 22.


Posted in CBC