Surrey’s public consultation in preparation for the city’s 2024 budget revealed that 77 per cent of respondents want more information on how their tax dollars are allocated.
A report before council Monday, Nov. 20, notes that besides an online survey six open houses were held in each of the city’s six communities. All told, 2,865 surveys were completed, 506 people attended the open houses and 50,725 were reached online and through newspaper ads.
“It’s great to actually engage with the community and see where their true wants lie so we can make an informed decision at budget time,” Coun. Mike Bose said.
According to data gathered, 96 per cent of survey respondents live in Surrey, 28 per cent work in Surrey, 15 per cent own property in Surrey, and 6 per cent own a business here.
The corporate report indicates that a majority of survey respondents support a “moderate property tax and user fee increase to help maintain or expand program and service offerings.”
Top of mind was transportation infrastructure, public safety and emergency services, and parks and open space while the top three “Emerging Issue Priorities,” the exercise found, are housing supply and affordability, homelessness, and sustainable transportation. The top three “Capital Investment Priorities” for respondents are transportation infrastructure, fire halls and emergency equipment, and engineering infrastructure.
Mayor Brenda Locke asked city staff is this year’s feedback was “different, better, more” than last year’s public consultation drive.
Laurie Cavan, Surrey’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, replied that the response “continued to be very positive from the community. We actually added some different locations this year and did a little bit more outreach on the street and went to some business areas as opposed to only in specific facilities, so that was received very positively.
“Although it’s very important to do the outreach in person, there’s still a lot of response to our online portal opportunities and that was received well,” Cavan added.