City of Surrey’s budget passed by a 5-4 vote, despite opposition from a loud and passionate crowd.
The group crowded Surrey city hall hours before the vote, trying to change council’s mind on policing issues during the official budget consultation on Monday afternoon,
Surrey’s 2020 budget includes an average 2.9 per cent property tax increase — approximately $59 for the average single-family home, staff estimate — along with one-time capital costs to help pay for the transition to an independent police force while the RCMP is still in operation.
“I think this is the last chance for council to reconsider the choice it’s taking,” said Chris Kant, one of several speakers who criticized Surrey’s plan to both transition to an independent police force over the next two years while adding no new RCMP officers in the interim.
The hold-the-line budget was opposed by virtually every person who spoke at the finance committee meeting, along with several councillors who pushed for more spending.
“Some of the councillors have been quite vocal about what we don’t like in this budget,” said Coun. Stephen Pettigrew, who called it a “disaster.”
“I would like to hear from one of the other councillors that support this budget what they like about it and why they support it,” he said to applause.