Surrey city hall. (File photo)

Surrey city hall. (File photo)

Surrey council to vote on draft budget Monday

Finance committee public hearing will be followed by regular meeting

Surrey city council will be considering the draft budget Monday (Dec. 2), first at the finance committee meeting and at the regular council meeting.

At the finance committee, which starts at 1 p.m., there will be a public hearing for people to comment on the budget.

Then at 7 p.m., council will be voting on first, second and third reading for the budget.

The draft financial capital plan budgets $45.2 million for Surrey’s new police department transition. The plan allocates $84.4 million in “additional” operating costs on top of the expected one-time transition costs. With contingencies added, that equates to $129.6 million over the five-year period.

For the second year in a row, there are no new police officers on the city’s books for 2020.

And no new firefighters are to be hired next year, if the budget is approved, “due to the priority in establishing” of a new police department and to keep “tax increases to a minimum.”

Further, the plan calls for a hiring freeze at city hall outside of staff required for new facilities to open, such as the Clayton Heights Community Centre.

Staff note in budget documents that “this is not a long term sustainable strategy” and state that “further staffing adjustments may be made during the course of 2020 if service delivery demands increase beyond what has been anticipated.”

The draft budget has come under fire from several councillors since it was released on Nov. 18.

READ ALSO: New Surrey police for ‘swallowing up’ city funds, Annis says, Nov. 18, 2019

READ ALSO: Higher development fees in budget would ‘make Surrey less affordable’: Annis, Nov. 26, 2019

Surrey City Councillor Linda Annis says the city’s plan to switch from the RCMP to its own police force is “swallowing up every available dollar” at city hall while Councillor Steven Pettigrew says its draft budget, if approved, “will continue to destroy the fabric of our city.”

The new police force will come at the expense of road repairs, rinks, recreation centres, and more police officers and firefighters for Surrey, Annis said

Pettigrew echoed her.

“It will take years if not decades to recover from this type of fiscal ideology,” he said. “I hope that the people of Surrey will speak up and voice their concerns.”

Last year’s approved five-year budget postponed $136 million in capital projects, in an effort to reduce required debt, Mayor Doug McCallum said at the time.

Now, Pettigrew says, “this budget focuses all of its attention on one thing – creating a new Surrey Police Force.”

“This will be done at the expense of any new capital projects – example, arenas, improving our road network, adding new resources to match our city’s growth. The people of Surrey are very frustrated with the lack of improvements to their community and the hamstringing of our first responders.”

READ ALSO: McCallum floats canal idea again but Surrey staff ‘have no work plan before them’, Nov. 26, 2019

Meantime, McCallum has made comments about his Bridgeview canal idea and how it’s proceeding at city hall, but councillors Annis and Jack Hundial said they feel it’s meant to be a distraction from the budget.

“Quite frankly, I’m not sure why the mayor is talking about it,” Annis said. “I think we’ve got a lot more important issues to be concerned with.”

While Hundial said he thinks it’s a “ruse”

to get people’s attention off the shortfall in the budget and the policing transition.

Asked if he thinks that’s working, Hundial said he knows “people are smarter than that.”

“When you look at this police plan and how it’s going to cannibalize the entire budget, that’s going to come at the sake of youth facilities such as rec centres, services,” he said. “We need to look at all of those things going into the budget.”

– files from Amy Reid and Tom Zytaruk

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staycation Box featuring an Indian experience. (Contributed photo)
White Rock company aims to bring vacation experience to front door

‘Staycation Boxes’ launched two months ago, include food bank donations

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)
Surrey mayor taking it on the chin during budget public hearing

So far, he’s cut five callers off during Monday’s virtual meeting

The entrance at Fleetwood Villa in Surrey. (Photo: dignified.ca)
Fleetwood Villa resident tests positive for COVID-19, leading to ‘outbreak’ at facility

Fraser Health says it’s ‘critically important’ for people in the region to use COVID-19 assessment tool

A Surrey protest now in week 12 against a local resident has frayed the nerves of neighbours fed-up with the group’s presence. (Submitted photo)
Surrey neighbourhood fed-up with strange protest

Surrey Mounties say they’re monitoring the situation

Bhupinder Hundal. (submitted photo)
Surrey’s Bhupinder Hundal hired as news director of B.C. broadcaster

Grad of Princess Margaret Secondary now managing Global station

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Most Read