The City of Surrey has received an $89.9 million slice of the $1 billion Growing Communities Fund that was announced by Premier David Eby during a presser in Newton three weeks ago.
All 188 of B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts can draw from the $1 billion pool to address their specific infrastructure and amenities demands such as recreation facilities, parks, improving roads and water-treatment plants, to help prepare for future growth and build amenities to support new home construction.
On Feb. 24 Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said Surrey’s share could “absolutely” be used to offset a portion of a potential 17.5 per cent property tax increase that’s bearing down on Surrey taxpayers this year, and a 20.5 per cent hike overall.
According to a corporate report coming before Surrey city council on Monday, council is being asked to approve the finance committee’s recommendation related to the city’s proposed 2023 Five-Year (2023-2027 General Operating Financial Plan with “four key drivers,” namely a 9.5 general property tax increase to fund a forecasted 2023 policing shortfall, a seven per cent general property tax increase to cover “general inflationary pressures” as well as police, fire and bylaws services, a one per cent increase to the roads and traffic levy and a further three per cent in user fee increases, for a grand total tax increase of 20.5 per cent this year.
The City of Surrey issued a press release Friday containing a statement attributed to Locke, in which she said Surrey’s nearly $90 million in funding announced by the provincial government shows its “recognition and commitment” to investing in Surrey.
“Creating livable and affordable communities is not only achievable, but we can reach that goal faster when we all work together. This funding will go a long way to supporting and maintaining the high quality of life we have in Surrey,” the statement reads. “From recreation facilities to parks to roads, this investment will have an immediate positive impact for the residents of Surrey both now and well into the future. I would like to thank Premier Eby, Minister Kang and our Surrey MLAs for the significant contribution in funding much-needed community infrastructure at such a critical point in Surrey’s development.”
A public hearing into the financial plan will be held at city hall at 2 p.m. Monday, March 6.