Surrey Council rejects motion to extend public consultation on Budget 2022 – Surrey Now-Leader
The Safe Surrey Coalition has rejected a motion that would have given Surrey residents 10 working days to review the city’s five-year financial plan (2022-2026) before its expected approval.
The budget was released late Friday (December 17) and the board will be holding a finance committee meeting on Wednesday (December 22) at 11 a.m. to discuss it.
Com. Brenda Locke, who brought forward the motion to extend the consultation period to 10 business days, told council the early turnaround is unfair to businesses and residents who are affected by the budget.
“I think it’s very disrespectful that we’ve only given the public two working days to take a look at the budget this year,” Locke told the board. “I think the public would like to have more time to review the budget, especially this year… It’s a big election budget and it matters to the people. I think we must, and we should be, stay true to what we have been doing over the past few years. “
Tales. Jack Hundial, Linda Annis and Steven Pettigrew echoed Locke in saying they wanted to give residents more time to digest the budget.
Speaking on Locke’s motion, SSC Coun. Allison Patton said she was “offended”.
“I find it very offensive that two of the advisers who are complaining about this issue is, in my opinion, the cause why we haven’t necessarily organized our schedule as consistently as we like to have our standard for our A + rating.” Patton told Hint. “And personally, I find it offensive that they are questioning the process we’ve been going through for the past three years in order to be strategically ready for our budget. And I’m still offended by it. So they have to live with it.
Locke responded to Patton’s comment.
“When it comes to offending anyone, you know this is not the place to talk about who is offended and who is not. I can tell you that’s not what this chamber is for, ”Locke said.
Com. Laurie Guerra, of SSC, has said she will not support Locke’s motion.
“I find it very misleading that the members of this council are critical when the budget was not released on time, and now that it is out and we are ready to deal with it, I am very supportive of what we bring. it’s moving forward, ”Guerra said, adding that there hasn’t been a huge change in terms of the tax increase.
Hundial noted that 2021 has been a difficult year for business owners and they are directly affected by taxes.
“We didn’t give enough time, which people would normally expect in a budget cycle. There certainly wasn’t a warning for that,” Hundial said.
Com. Annis said the challenges are magnified by the busy holiday season.
“People were caught off guard and didn’t have the time or the opportunity to review it,” Annis told the council.
McCallum, who called the budget “one of the best, if not the best of any major city in Canada,” said there had been “a huge public consultation” throughout the year.
The mayor challenged “a number” of councilors who did not attend two finance committee meetings.
“I’m not going to name them. They know who they are, ”McCallum said. “But when we have a finance committee meeting on the budget, I expect all the councilors to be at those meetings.”
In a press release last week, the city boasted that “for the fourth year in a row, the proposed average property tax rate has been set at 2.9%”
But earlier this year, many residents and businesses were shocked to learn that their property tax hike was way above the promise of 2.9%.
Amber Stowe, the city’s communications and media relations manager, could not confirm whether there will be a council meeting on December 24. She said the board would set a date for the next meeting at Wednesday’s finance committee meeting.
However, on the city’s website, it lists a meeting on December 24 at 10 a.m.