Surrey’s first quarter financial report for 2020 forecasts a city budget shortfall of between $37 million and $42 million on account of the pandemic.
“In summary, it is estimated that under cautiously optimistic fiscal assumptions, the financial impact to the City of the current COVID-19 pandemic will equate to potentially a $37 to $42 million budgetary shortfall to the City for 2020,” Kam Grewal, Surrey’s general manager of finance stated in a report to council.
Councillor Steven Pettigrew said he’s “extremely concerned about the financial position of the city, especially in light of COVID-19.
“I feel that we need to listen more to our business community and to the citizens of our city to re-allocate the transitional costs to shore up the budget,” he said.
The first quarter only encompassed the first two weeks of the pandemic, council was told, and more detail on what the city can do to address the shortfall will be covered in the second quarterly financial report.
Meantime, council approved on May 4and economic action and recovery plan for the city. In a press statement released by the city on Tuesday Mayor Doug McCallum is quoted as saying Surrey is “on solid footing” despite the pandemic.
The plan includes a 90-day extension on late payment penalties for residential and commercial property tax payments with the charges coming into effect Oct. 1 instead of July 3 and there will also be a 50 per cent reduction of “many” development fees related to construction projects valued at more than $25 million.
Moreover, business licence late payment penalties have been deferred during B.C.’s state of emergency and will be applied 30 days after that ends.