Surrey has lowest municipal spending, lowest revenue collection: report

METRO VANCOUVER — Surreyites have the lowest taxes and the municipality spends the lowest per capita out of 17 Metro Vancouver municipalities, shows a new Fraser Institute study.

The report, Comparing Municipal Government Finances in Metro Vancouver, looked at financial information of the municipalities from 2002 to 2012.

West Vancouver was found to be the highest spender in 2012, at $2,118 per person, more than doubling Surrey’s spending per capita, at $951. The City of Vancouver was also found to be a high spender, coming in at $1,689 spent per person – 78 per cent higher than in Surrey.

“The large differences in per-person spending does not appear to be driven by population,” the report states. “For instance, the City of Vancouver has the largest population and is the third highest spender ($1,689 per person), while Surrey has the second largest population and is the lowest spender (17th).”

Delta’s per capita spending was $1,596 (ranked fourth highest) and White Rock was $1,351 (ranked eighth highest).

Back in 2002, Surrey was also ranked lowest in spending per person. Then, the city spent $676 per person – meaning an increase of roughly 40 per cent over those ten years.

In the category of government revenue collection (property taxes and other fees) Surrey ranked the lowest in revenue collected per person – $1,451 – well below the regional average in the study of $1,916.

In 2002, Surrey was ranked second-lowest with 1,020. Since then, the increase in revenue collection has grown by roughly 42 per cent.

West Vancouver collected the most revenue per person in 2012 ($2,548), nearly $1,100 more per person than Surrey.

Delta’s revenue collection amounted to $2,051 per person in 2012 (coming in at fifth highest), and White Rock’s was $1,709 (10th highest).

It was found that all 17 municipalities increased spending “beyond the rate needed to accommodate inflation and population growth.”

Mayor Dianne Watts said in a press release she is pleased Surrey has been recognized for having the lowest municipal taxes and spending.

“We are a very lean organization and our decisions are made to ensure the best value and level of service for our residents and businesses in Surrey.”



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