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Locke wants Surrey policing costs recorded ‘line-by-line’ in 2022 city budget

This, councillor says, ‘would provide the kind of transparency expected by the public on this project’
Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke wants all policing costs in Surrey to be recorded on a “line-by-line” basis when the 2022 budget is drafted.

This, she said, would provide residents with the “most accurate and transparent information of where an how their tax dollars are being spent.”

Locke made a notice of motion to that end early Tuesday morning, to be dealt with in September when council returns from its summer break.

She noted this past year the city has seen “significant” costs in spending related to infrastructure “as well as the police transition and the increases the transition will have on the city moving forward.”

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READ ALSO: Surrey Police Board says council can’t ‘unilaterally’ pause or stop transition

While presenting a line-by-line accounting for everything in the budget may not be practical, she concedes, an exception should be made in this particular case.

“Given that the police transition is a significant new expense to taxpayers, presenting all policing costs on a line by line basis would provide the kind of transparency expected by the public on this project,” Locke said.

During the last Surrey Police Board meeting on July 20, board member in charge of the finance committee Elizabeth Model reported that one-time expenditures for the 2021 fiscal year were budgeted at $23.1 million but of one-time expenditures budgeted for 2020 at $25.2 million, $20.6 million was carried forward into this year.

“The total of $43.7 million is the available one-time budget for the current year,” Model told the board. “As of May 31st, 2021, expenditure in all areas remain underspent compared to the available budget.”

Model said projected spending for the 2021 fiscal year will be about $29.5 million, with “areas of significant expected spending” covering information technology and recruitment, assessment and training.

She said the SPS expects by the end of 2021 to carry forward $14.2 million to 2022 “and future years.”

Model said the one-time policing transition project spans over five years, from 2020 to 2024.

“The financial plan for this project was prepared in 2019. The total funding available for this project is $63.7 million. There is risk that if the expenditures are not monitored, the spending for this project could exceed the budgeted amount of $63.7 million,” Model said in her report to the board.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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