IN reviewing the city’s finances, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and Surrey City Council have moved to immediately bring the city’s spiraling debt under control. Council has been apprised that the city is currently carrying a debt of $514 million.
“When the books were shown to me, I was deeply dismayed and shaken to the core to see how much debt the City of Surrey has been carrying,” said McCallum. “The fact that the debt load is at $514 million is simply untenable and frankly, irresponsible. When I was previously mayor for nine years, I took great pride in running the city’s finances by saving first and avoiding debt. Council and I have agreed to immediately bring the city’s fiscal house in order.”
Council will be giving direction to staff to prepare a budget that will significantly cut down the debt by embracing the principle of pay as you go.
“I want to assure the citizens of Surrey that the services and programs that the city delivers will not be impacted and they can expect the same high level of service as before,” said McCallum. “What we will be doing as a Council is determining what makes the most fiscal sense for our ratepayers and how to responsibly proceed with capital projects. In short, we will not mortgage the city’s future and will operate like a regular household by saving up and paying as we go.”
As this is part of the budget process, McCallum and Council will be reserving further comment on this matter until they have had the opportunity to review the staff budget report which will be presented at the Finance Committee meeting on December 11.
Meanwhile, CBC reported that it had confirmed the actual debt found in the city’s financial report from December 2017 is $267-million. The mayor’s office later clarified that “the $514 million figure is actually the projected debt the city would incur under the current five year financial plan approved in December of 2017, if it was allowed to proceed to completion.”