SURREY First Councillor Linda Annis said on Monday that a September 14 memo from Surrey Councillor Pardeep Kooner “paints an incomplete and one-sided political picture” of Surrey Police Services (SPS) financials, with the sole purpose of turning residents against the SPS and the province’s decision to proceed with the transition from the RCMP.
Annis said the memo to councillors pointed to a $112 million SPS budget increase over the budget approved by the city, and a possible tax increase of 26 per cent.
She said: “I’ve said from the very beginning of this five years of chaos around policing that Surrey residents deserve all the facts because it’s their money and their city. … Now that the province has made the decision to proceed with the transition, we need to get on with moving forward, and we need to do that with accurate and transparent numbers, and that’s what is missing in the Councillor Kooner memo of last week.”
She said that a subsequent detailed note to mayor and council from the Surrey Police Board Finance Committee dated September 16 states the financial information is inaccurate. This financial update from the SPS reinforces that since last year’s municipal election the transition has “essentially paused” and financials need to reflect that fact.
“When I read the detailed SPS financial update, and the brief note from Councillor Kooner, I couldn’t believe we were talking about the same thing, that’s how far apart everyone is,” noted Annis. “At the end of the day, people can have their own opinions, but they cannot have their own facts.
“The people of Surrey deserve real numbers, numbers that the city, province, RCMP and SPS can all agree on, but we still don’t have that. Instead, we have a politically motivated memo from the city that is aimed at undermining the SPS and the province, and selectively shares an incomplete story and the details. Until we get everyone in the room and sort out the financial facts, I would take any numbers about the transition with a big grain of salt.”
Annis added: “The citizens of Surrey know when they are only getting part of the story, and that approach doesn’t build confidence or trust. Politically motivated financials do not serve our taxpayers well, and we need to do better. But it takes leadership at city hall, and frankly on this issue that’s been missing to date.”