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City of Surrey proposes property tax hike of up to 17.5% in 2023

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Residents of Surrey could be hit with the most significant property tax increase in recent memory, the City of Surrey proposes 17.5% property tax hike for 2023. Just before 2:30 pm on Saturday, February 18, the City of Surrey published a report outlining its proposal for considering a municipal property tax hike of 17.5% this year. This would go towards substantially increased costs in multiple areas of the operating budget, including fulfilling specific civic election commitments by Mayor Brenda Locke and Surrey City Council to reverse course on fully growing the new municipal police force. Of the 17.5%, more than half or 9.5% would be dedicated to covering the policing operating budget shortfall of $116.6 million — equivalent to about $219 more in property taxes for the average single-family home. This portion of the property tax increase would offset the policing operating budget shortfall over three years through 2025.
The municipal government states part of the policing budget shortfall comes from the provincial government’s delay on providing the final approval needed to support the City’s decision to abolish Surrey Police Services (SPS) and retain the Surrey RCMP. The provincial government missed the City’s requested deadline of January 31 due to a desire for more information, and the target date for such a decision has since been moved to the end of March. The largest proposed budget line item associated with winding down the SPS is $82 million in severance.

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