Police chief says 20 new cops coming to Surrey in next six weeks

SURREY — The police chief says 20 new cops will arrive at the Surrey RCMP detachment within the next six weeks.

Bill Fordy told the police committee Monday that some cadets were redeployed to Ottawa for two months following the shootings at Parliament Hill that took the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, but they are now starting to arrive in Surrey.

“In three to six months they would become essentially suitable and capable of going out by themselves,” Fordy said.

Meanwhile, Fordy is recommending the city not renew a pilot project with BC Commissionaires – 10 armed personnel who patrol but do not carry guns – citing operational and liability issues, but city council says they ease the minds of citizens.

Last October, the police committee endorsed a recommendation to increase the Surrey RCMP from 703 to 803 officers.

The 100 new officers were a Surrey First promise along the campaign trail.

To help pay for the new cops, Surrey is set to raise taxes this year. 

The average Surrey tax bill rise is set to climb by $162. Last year, the average tax bill for a single-family home, assessed at $648,000, was $1593. With the proposed increases, that would rise to $1,755 in 2015.

The new officers will cost $3.9 million in 2015, with an annual impact of $14.5 million after that. When it comes to fire services, the city is looking at a $3.7 million increase in 2015, due to a new contract signed this fall.

A 2.9 per cent property tax increase is again planned, meaning an increase of $46.20 per year for the average single-family home.

As well, a one per cent road and traffic levy is proposed, an increase of $15.56 to the average single-family home.

And new this year is a proposed $100 “cultural and recreational parcel tax.”

The tax bill will rise further for those with a secondary suite. Previously set at $410, the city is proposing to raise it to $526, a move said to bring it in live with taxes paid for a one-bedroom condo.

The city is also planning a 3.9 per cent fee increase across the board, which would include things like rec centre admission costs.

Coun. Tom Gill, chair of the city’s finance committee, said the budget was difficult.

He said the costs associated with the number of officers was “excessively higher” than expected when setting the previous five-year plan.

“By no means did I ever expect the policing numbers, even though I knew that there was a (crime) report ongoing, did I ever comprehend that the number would be that high.”

The city was faced with a choice, Gill explained. Balance the books by cutting back on capital projects, or add the new cultural tax and raise secondary suite fees to help cover the infrastructure the city had on the books.

“One of my biggest concerns when I got into council was to make sure we had a very robust capital program,” Gill noted. “Policing is just one of many elements that needs to be addressed, but certainly keeping our kids busy and doing constructive activities is probably the most important piece to me.”

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has criticized the move.

He’s particularly concerned with Surrey increasing the secondary suite fees, saying the cost will ultimately land on renters.

Bateman also took issue with the city’s proposed cultural tax, calling it “inelegant and ridiculous.”

“It’s essentially a hammer, it doesn’t matter how many times you use the facilities, it doesn’t matter what your income is or what your home is worth, it’s just a flat tax. That always hurts lower-income, middle-income people harder than the higher-income. It fails the test of progressivity and it kind of fails the test of fairness to people.”

The new officers will cost $3.9 million in 2015, with an annual impact of $14.5 million after that. When it comes to fire services, the city is looking at a $3.7 million increase in 2015, due to a new contract signed this fall.

A 2.9 per cent property tax increase is again planned, meaning an increase of $46.20 per year for the average single-family home.

As well, a one per cent road and traffic levy is proposed, an increase of $15.56 to the average single-family home.

And new this year is a proposed $100 “cultural and recreational parcel tax.”

The tax bill will rise further for those with a secondary suite. Previously set at $410, the city is proposing to raise it to $526, a move said to bring it in live with taxes paid for a one-bedroom condo.

The city is also planning a 3.9 per cent fee increase across the board, which would include things like rec centre admission costs.

Coun. Tom Gill, chair of the city’s finance committee, said this year’s budget was difficult.

He said the costs associated with the number of officers was “excessively higher” than expected when setting last year’s five-year plan.

“By no means did I ever expect the policing numbers, even though I knew that there was a (crime) report ongoing, did I ever comprehend that the number would be that high.”

The city was faced with a choice, Gill explained. Balance the books by cutting back on capital projects, or add the new cultural tax and raise secondary suite fees to help cover the infrastructure the city had on the books.

“One of my biggest concerns when I got into council was to make sure we had a very robust capital program,” Gill noted. “Policing is just one of many elements that needs to be addressed, but certainly keeping our kids busy and doing constructive activities is probably the most important piece to me.”

– See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/news/surrey-tax-bills-set-to-rise-by-162-as-city-grapples-with-paying-for-100-new-officers-1.1663822#sthash.eUbhA5We.dpufThe new officers will cost $3.9 million in 2015, with an annual impact of $14.5 million after that. When it comes to fire services, the city is looking at a $3.7 million increase in 2015, due to a new contract signed this fall.

A 2.9 per cent property tax increase is again planned, meaning an increase of $46.20 per year for the average single-family home.

As well, a one per cent road and traffic levy is proposed, an increase of $15.56 to the average single-family home.

And new this year is a proposed $100 “cultural and recreational parcel tax.”

The tax bill will rise further for those with a secondary suite. Previously set at $410, the city is proposing to raise it to $526, a move said to bring it in live with taxes paid for a one-bedroom condo.

The city is also planning a 3.9 per cent fee increase across the board, which would include things like rec centre admission costs.

Coun. Tom Gill, chair of the city’s finance committee, said this year’s budget was difficult.

He said the costs associated with the number of officers was “excessively higher” than expected when setting last year’s five-year plan.

“By no means did I ever expect the policing numbers, even though I knew that there was a (crime) report ongoing, did I ever comprehend that the number would be that high.”

The city was faced with a choice, Gill explained. Balance the books by cutting back on capital projects, or add the new cultural tax and raise secondary suite fees to help cover the infrastructure the city had on the books.

“One of my biggest concerns when I got into council was to make sure we had a very robust capital program,” Gill noted. “Policing is just one of many elements that needs to be addressed, but certainly keeping our kids busy and doing constructive activities is probably the most important piece to me.”

Surrey council is considering a budget Monday that will see the average Surrey tax bill rise by $162 – something not sitting well with a watchdog organization.

Last year, the average tax bill for a single-family home, assessed at $648,000, was $1593. With the proposed increases, that would rise to $1,755 in 2015.

– See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/news/surrey-tax-bills-set-to-rise-by-162-as-city-grapples-with-paying-for-100-new-officers-1.1663822#sthash.eUbhA5We.dpuf

areid@thenownewspaper.com