OUR VIEW: Surrey debt discrepancy troubling

Doug McCallum either tried to pull a fast one or can’t read a financial statement

Doug McCallum either tried to pull a fast one or can’t read a financial statement.

Either way, it’s bad.

Earlier this week McCallum’s people sent out a press release during the witching hour saying the new mayor is “shaken to the core” by a “simply untenable” situation wherein the city is “currently” shouldering a debt load of $514 million.

That’s some strong brew.

Oh-oh. Time to tighten the belt, and maybe backtrack on some major election promises – ones that are getting major push-back from residents?

But wait a minute, it turns out the City of Surrey’s 2017 financial statements reveal that debt load is actually $267.2 million.

So McCallum claims the debt is $514 million. The city’s own financial documents say $267.2 million. That’s a difference of $246.8 million. Metaphorically speaking, the sheer magnitude of this discrepancy makes the Grand Canyon look like a golf divot.

READ ALSO: City of Surrey’s debt nowhere near McCallum’s figure of $514M

OUR VIEW: Anti-Police Power Surrey argument is puerile

OUR VIEW: Show us the money, Surrey council

OUR VIEW: Fraser Health should park the Surrey Memorial Hospital parking fees

That is one stupendous math blunder and circumstantial evidence suggests the computational error is not owned by the previous Surrey First civic government, under whose stewardship the city just received an A+ rating from the C.D. Howe Institute, which champions fiscal responsibility.

Notably, we learned McCallum’s figure includes “projected debt.”

We’ve sought clarity from the mayor and head of the city’s finance department, which should be swiftly forthcoming considering so much was said of transparency, accountability and other similarly noble stuff during the election campaign. But what did we get?

A terse emailed statement from the mayor’s office saying, “We are about to start the public process and will not be making further comment at this time.”

So many questions unanswered. Clearly there is an information vacuum here that only Mayor McCallum can fill. Trouble is, he’s not returning phone calls.

Now-Leader



edit@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A driver pulls up to the new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Weddings, funerals have ‘potential to become a super-spreader’ event: Fraser Health

As of Oct. 21, health authority accounted for 70% of total provincial cases

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
More than 200 new COVID-19 cases linked to Fraser Health region: Dr. Henry

Provincial health officer appeals to people to keep gatherings small

Reni Masi file photo
Former Surrey school trustee, Delta MLA dies at age 87

Reni Masi served as Liberal MLA for nine years, then as a Surrey school trustee for another nine

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s Senator Reid reporting first COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Most Read