Surrey’s proposed 2021 budget: General property tax increase of 2.9%

THE City of Surrey’s proposed Budget 2021 has set a general property tax increase of 2.9%, which is consistent with the rate that was set by Council in the two previous budgets. Despite the challenges that have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Surrey’s Budget 2021 is balanced in accordance with the Local Government Act and the Community Charter.

“It has been Council’s approach to manage our public dollars prudently and it is a testament to the economic strength of Surrey that we have been able to bring in a fully balanced budget that holds the line on property taxes. The rate set in the 2019 and 2020 budgets was 2.9% and is, once again, the rate proposed for the 2021 budget,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “There is no question that COVID-19 has hit all of us hard economically and Council recognizes the importance of not increasing the burden to our ratepayers. The adversity that we face now with the pandemic will eventually come to an end, and Budget 2021 plans for life after COVID by investing in public projects in the form of facilities, parks and other infrastructure projects. Surrey has weathered the economic storm caused by COVID and Budget 2021 puts us on a steady and stable course to navigate the new year and beyond.”

Budget 2021 proposes a Capital Parcel Tax increase of $200. Below are some of the projects that will benefit all citizens of Surrey that the levy will help fund. All of the following projects are budgeted to ensure work can get underway next year:

1. Newton Community Centre & Land Acquisition
2. Sunnyside Reservoir Pickleball and Bike Park
3. City Centre Sports Complex – Phase 1
4. New Park Washrooms
5. Bear Creek Park Athletics Centre
6. Biodiversity Preserve Park Improvements
7. South Surrey Athletic Park Track Replacement and New Artificial Turf Field
8. Trail and Path Development
9. Crescent Park Studio/Building Renovation
10. Newton Turf and Washroom/Changeroom
11. Outdoor Volleyball Courts
12. Artificial Turf Field Replacements at Five Locations
13. New Park Shelters
14. Indigenous Carving Centres
15. Newton Athletic Park Walking Track
16. Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex with 2 sheets of ice (budgeted for 2022/23)

The operating budget for police related services, which include the Surrey Police Service, was forecasted at $189.6 million in the 2020 budget. City staff has been continually reviewing this item as more information became available and has recalculated the operating budget for police related services for 2021 at $184.1 million, a decrease of $5.5 million from the projection in the previous budget cycle.

“On behalf of Council, I would like to thank all of our city staff for the steps they have taken to ensure that the core services and programs are delivered in the most cost effective manner during this time of pandemic,” said McCallum. “I want to give a special thank you to the staff of the City’s Finance Department for their comprehensive and meticulous work on Budget 2021.”

The full Budget 2021 document can be found here.