Governing caucus demands answers on voting against 25 critical capital projects and lowest tax rate in region
THE Safe Surrey Coalition-led City Council has passed third reading of the 2022 budget that is poised to deliver nine new infrastructure projects and a 2.9% property tax rate for the fourth year in a row.
Three opposition Surrey City Councillors – Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial, Linda Annis and Steven Pettigrew – voted against the five-year financial plan, and one – Steven Pettigrew – didn’t show up for the meeting. This mimics their rejection of the 2021 budget one year ago, pointed out the Safe Surrey Coalition.
In total, their votes opposed a total of 25 critical infrastructure projects including a new Newton Community Centre and accompanying land acquisition, the Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex, the City Centre Interactive Art Museum and a new Kabaddi Facility.
The Safe Surrey Coalition said that in doing so, Annis continues Surrey First’s 13-year tenure of no significant investments or amenities to meet the needs of BC’s fastest growing city. Instead, Annis had waged political attacks based on shifting criticisms and incorrect statements, such as claiming that the Budget would be delayed until May 2022 just weeks before this third reading vote.
These tactics are indicative of an elected official more concerned with politics than delivering results, according to Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
“Our Safe Surrey Coalition caucus has ushered in 25 historic projects across the city over the past two years while maintaining a consistently low property tax rate for residents,” said McCallum on Thursday. “After 15 years of little to no investment, residents are expressing strong support for our caucus’ agenda in support of Surrey’s vibrant future.”
The Safe Surrey Coalition said that Locke is also resorting to false claims like “significant increases in taxes” while fear mongering about police transitioning costs leading to future financial burden. This was echoed by her proxy Brian Sauvé, President of the National Police Federation, who alluded to an “increase in taxes for hard-working Surrey residents.” The reality, however, is that Surrey’s residential property tax rate of 2.9% is not only the lowest in the region, but is also the most consistent of any municipality in Metro Vancouver by remaining the same over the past four budgets.
Using deception cannot hide the fact that said Councillors are without answers for their actions, said McCallum
“On behalf of the electorate, the Safe Surrey Coalition is demanding accountability for these shameful voting records,” said McCallum. “Those that have voted against investing in our future will have to answer to the electorate in next year’s election.”