We’re all paying a lot more under this mayor, and there’s still no transparency: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (May 27, 2021): City of Surrey property tax bills have started arriving at local doorsteps and Councillor Linda Annis says taxpayers are learning the hard way that Doug McCallum’s promise of a “2.9 per cent increase is pure fiction.”
“Take a look at your bill and compare it to last year. Does that look like 2.9 per cent to you?” said Annis. “In November I said Doug McCallum’s promise of a 2.9 per cent increase was just the tip of the iceberg, with charges like the flat rate parcel tax climbing from $100 to $300 as a way for him, and his four remaining Safe Surrey councillors, to paper over higher tax bills. Now I know why the mayor voted against my recent motion to have an independent auditor general for Surrey, the same as other big cities in the country. Taxpayers aren’t getting the straight goods about the city’s finances and the property tax bills for 2021 show that in spades. For instance, does anyone in Surrey feel they know the real cost of the police transition?”
Annis said she’s starting to hear from local taxpayers who are “more than angry” about this year’s tax bill. Their complaints are all the same, and focus on the Mayor’s promise of a 2.9 per cent increase.
“For instance, one resident, Roger Reid, let me know that his taxes went from $3740 in 2020 to $4469 in 2021, an increase of nearly 20 per cent,” said Annis. “Of course people are angry, they’ve been totally misled and that financial iceberg I talked about in November, well we’ve hit it and the tax increases are well beyond the 2.9 per cent promised by Doug McCallum.”
“I wrote to the mayor and told him not to insult my intelligence by saying the parcel tax levy is not part of the tax increase,” said Reid, a 30-year resident of Surrey. “We made no significant changes to our home and our BC Assessment is up only 2.5 per cent, so when I got the bill from the city with a 19.5 per cent increase over last year my wife and I were shocked. I definitely believe in paying taxes for the things we really need, like rinks and pools and community centres, but when I see the way the Mayor has mismanaged the finances around the police transition you have to wonder what’s happening at city hall. Who’s looking after our tax dollars?”
“COVID-19 has made life hard for everyone, but these tax bills from city hall have added to the stress,” explained Annis. “We’ve got a mayor who prefers to make decisions and do things behind closed doors, who has no interest in what our residents have to say about issues, and is obsessed with his unpopular and costly police department which is eating up every available dollar at city hall. Surrey residents deserve better than this and you only have to compare your tax bill to last year to know we’re headed in the wrong direction.”
Councillor Linda Annis