Civic politicians and Surrey staff cost taxpayers more than $170M in 2014

SURREY — Surrey taxpayers forked out just over $635,000 for their civic politicians in 2014, according to the recently released 2014 Statement of Financial Information.

More than $170 million went to city employees.

All in all, elected officials were paid $475,530 in salary, $79,802 in taxable benefits and separation allowances, and racked up $79,729 in expenses.

Dianne Watts made $118,997 last year, with $76,068 in other benefits, including a $13,397 in car allowance and a separation allowance of $62,605.

Between her councillor compensation and mayoral pay after the November election, Linda Hepner made $69,384.70 plus about $900 in other benefits and had close to $15,000 in expenses.

Re-elected councillors Tom Gill, Bruce Hayne, Mary Martin, Barbara Steele and Judy Villeneuve earned $67,535, $67,373, $62,085, $67,552 and $67,552 respectively.

Surrey-Panorama MLA Marvin Hunt, who left Surrey council part way through the year, was paid $6,452.

Barinder Rasode, who lost her councillor seat after losing her mayoral bid in November, was paid $65,674.

Councillor Dave Woods, Vera LeFranc and Mike Starchuk – all elected in the 2014 civic election in November – were paid $1,877.

Hayne had the most expenses last year ($15,050), followed by Hepner ($14,937), Martin ($10,553), Villeneuve ($10,306), Gill ($9,686), Steele ($9,167), Rasode($8,771), Watts ($8,721), Hunt ($947.25), LeFranc ($137), Starchuk ($124) and Woods ($114).

Meanwhile, City of Surrey employees made more than $154 million last year in salaries alone. When factoring in expenses, as well as taxable and other benefits, the bill came to more than $170 million.

A total of 828 employees took home more than $75,000 in 2014, up from 805 employees in 2013.

The top five earners were city manager Vincent Lalonde who earned about $250,212; manager of finance and technology Vivienne Wilke who made roughly $234,600; manager of planning and development Jean Lamontagne who took home just under $224,000; manager of parks, recreation and culture Laurie Cavan who earned just shy of $222,000; and operations manager Gerry McKinnon who earned $204,662.

The top earners were paid $142,734 in taxable benefits and spent $14,141 in expenses.

All told, the city’s 2014 revenues totalled roughly $844 million, an increase when compared to 2013’s $790 million. The increase was attributed to additional property taxes and utility fees, as well as increased capital contributions from developers for infrastructure-related projects.

City expenses were up from $575 million in 2013 to about $655 million in 2014. The report attributes the jump to employee contracts such as fire services, an increase to RCMP, an increase in fiscal services as a result of the external borrowing the city took in 2011/2012/2013 and a one-time loss on the disposal of land in relation to South Fraser Perimeter road to the tune of about $13 million.

areid@thenownewspaper.com

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