A massive property tax hike is coming to Surrey homeowners and businesses

Apr 4 2023, 4:46 pm

Surrey’s 2023 property tax hike was approved Monday night and it’s less than the mayor had previously proposed but is still significantly higher than in years past.

That’s thanks to a massive funding boost from the province which lowered the increase from 17.5% to 12.5%.

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke announced last month that the City of Surrey will direct the $89.9 million it will receive from the provincial government’s Growing Communities Fund to reduce the tax increase, despite questions from critics who argued it would not be allowed to be used to cover the cost of reinstating the RCMP and ending the transition to Surrey Police Service.

“Should the [municipal] police transition be allowed to continue, the extra costs would not be covered in the proposed 2023 budget,” she said in a previous meeting, arguing that taxpayers have been left to cover the costs of two police forces to the tune of an extra $8 million a month.

The approved increase is a big jump for taxpayers as under former Mayor Doug McCallum and the previous City Council, the official annual property tax increase rate was held at 2.9%. But this does not include the impact of the decision to triple the flat-rate Capital Parcel Tax from $100 to $300 annually starting in 2021, which alone amounted to the equivalent of a 10% property tax hike.

Among those speaking out over the increase: Business owners in the area. 

“Despite the reduced resident property tax of 12.5% that was approved at the April 3 City of Surrey council meeting, the Surrey Board of Trade is very concerned about ongoing, uncertain property tax increases for businesses,” said Anita Huberman, president and CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “It is business that bears the greatest burden of taxation by all levels of government. The City of Surrey budget, on top of regional and provincial tax increases, is stifling businesses from growing in an already challenging economy.”

The mayor argued that the increase was necessary to make up for years of budgeting shortfalls, in addition to following through on election promises like removing the Surrey Police Service.

The province has the final say on reversing the police transition and is set to decide in the coming weeks.

She also said that the money is necessary for infrastructure projects, now approved in the five-year budget, like road improvements and the third sheet of ice at the Cloverdale rink.

With files from Kenneth Chan

Claire FentonClaire Fenton

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