LETTER: Tax hike? Where is revenue from Surrey’s unbridled growth?

'Gill blames past city councils for current tax hikes but the irony here is that is was part of the past city councils.'

Reader Darlene Bowyer wonders where revenues from the city's growth is ending up.

The Editor,

Re: “Another tax hike looms in Surrey,” the Now, Nov. 26.

Amy Reid’s article informs readers that Surrey First is considering tax increases to pay for its policing promises – for the second year in a row as per Coun. Tom Gill.

Gill blames past city councils for current tax hikes but the irony here is that is was part of the past city councils. He is not the new kid on the block at council.

These tax hikes are very concerning. Our mayor and duly elected councillors ran a campaign informing voters that they had the costs of officers covered with growth revenues, dividends from the Surrey City Development Corporation, secondary suite fees and existing city taxes to deliver promises.

What happened to those revenues? Why are Surrey taxpayers targeted again for their miscalculations?

We are told 60 of the 100 officers are now here but they neglect to inform us that a great percentage of them were used to fill existing positions where officers  are on leave or have retired.

Coun. Bruce Haynes states increases in crime are a regional problem but Surrey’s crime stats are up and Vancouver’s crime stats are down.

Now Surrey has hired a “director for public safety strategies,” which carries an annual salary of $170,000. But isn’t that the job of our officer in charge?

The newly hired safety director was quoted as saying, “I think the first challenge is to make sure that I know what the challenges are.”

Good grief, what city does Terry Waterhouse live in? Certainly not in Surrey.

I must agree with Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, who asked, “Why do we have a police chief and a bylaw manager, now we add another layer? This is the kind of thing that drives people crazy. Put boots on the street. Lots of people know what needs to be done in Surrey. It’s just a matter of doing it.

“More senior staff should be the last thing Surrey is pursuing. People in Surrey must wonder where all the extra tax revenue from the city’s unprecedented growth is going.”

Yes we do, Mr. Bateman. Yes we do.

Darlene Bowyer, Surrey

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