Linda Hepner

Hepner says new $100 levy was necessary

New Surrey mayor acknowledges there was no mention of the tax during the election campaign.

Mayor Linda Hepner acknowledges a $100 levy was never raised by her party during the fall election, but the tax became necessary to maintain the city’s capital program.

During the last civic election, Surrey First vowed to hire 100 police officers for $15 million annually.  The party stated those officers could be paid for with revenue from growth, a hike in secondary suite fees and dividends from the city’s development corporation.

However, the chair of the city’s finance committee, Coun. Tom Gill, said this month cost pressures – primarily from the hiring of the RCMP – put the city’s aggressive capital program at risk.

Gill said there were other cost pressures that came as a surprise, including a benefits increase for the RCMP and a pay increase for Surrey firefighters.

Staff say those costs total $6.5 million, some of which the city was anticipating.

Hepner said Tuesday (Dec. 22) there were more unexpected costs as well.

They include operating costs of new pools, she said.

“My fundamental piece was are we going to remain competitive in the region with the lowest taxes?” Hepner said.

She has been assured by city staff the city will be competitive in the taxes charged.

“Frankly that’s the best we can do.”

She acknowledged that the $100 levy was a new concept.

“That was never raised during the election,” Hepner said. “Nor was I aware it was going to cost $2 million to operate a pool.”

She also heard on the hustings that people wanted to keep the capital program, which is extremely expensive.

The budget was endorsed by the finance committee (all of council) on Dec. 8. It will be given final approval by council after the holidays.

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

Just Posted

‘There’s no playbook for this’: South Surrey sports organizations await approval to return to play

Local associations planning for modified summer seasons as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Surrey now has second urgent and primary care centre in Newton, premier says

Premier John Horgan noted that some 90,000 people in Surrey don’t have a family doctor

Man convicted by Surrey judge in hatchet attack near SkyTrain station loses appeal bid

Andrew Eugene Agopsowicz was convicted of assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and possession of a weapon dangerous to public peace

Cloverdale food drive supports Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank

Event raises nearly $10,000 in cash and non-perishable goods for Surrey’s newest food bank

Surrey’s Alan Clegg sits down for a socially-distanced chat about his life in Cloverdale over the years

Clegg chats about his time as a volunteer firefighter, 1962’s Typhoon Freda, and how he’s been holding up during COVID-19

VIDEO: Bear catches ‘rascally rabbit’ for breakfast near Whistler bus stop

The brief encounter of the bear hunting its meal has gone viral

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Missing since 2016, Marie Stuart’s remains found in Abbotsford

Pregnant Abbotsford woman was last seen in December 2016

Soggy dog plucked from Vedder River by Chilliwack Search and Rescue

A 10 month old puppy bit off far more than she could chew throwing herself into the rushing river

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read