As with all municipalities in the Metro Vancouver region, Surrey is feeling the financial strain caused by COVID-19. The City of Surrey has had to adjust and identify opportunities to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. As a result, Surrey has been able to moderate the financial impact caused by the virus.
“The City of Surrey has been working long before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic to find ways to weather the storm,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “As a result, we are operating in a position of relative strength during this unprecedented time. While there remains a financial burden to bear, we are ensuring that the city’s fiscal house remains stable as we concentrate on delivering the services that are within the mandate of the city.”
The City has taken several proactive measures to minimize the financial impacts during this unprecedented time and is experiencing an average loss of $4M per month. Based on COVID-19 restrictions easing by early summer, the City of Surrey is estimating a budgetary shortfall of $37M to $42M by year end (Dec. 31, 2020).
The City is also taking action to help Surrey residents and businesses during these challenging times. On March 25th, the City of Surrey extended the payment due date for the Annual Flat Water and Sewer by 90 days. For property taxes, City Council will be considering extending the payment due date for property taxes from July 2nd to Sept. 2nd.
“I want our residents to know that the City remains in a strong financial position and staff are continuously monitoring the new fiscal realty we are in with a view to minimizing our shortfall,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “As Council has done by facilitating construction opportunities in both the public and private sectors, I can also assure you that we are also looking ahead on how to keep the business of Surrey moving forward as we work through the COVID-19 crisis.”
At the last Regular Council Meeting (April 6th), City Council approved four City Engineering Capital Contracts valued at $14M that will result in the creation of approximately 140 new jobs. These civic projects will improve or update water, drainage, or sewer services to our residents and business. Work will commence by the end of this month. City Council also granted final approvals to five private projects that have a combined total construction value of $49M.
In addition, building and development activity continue to be robust in Surrey. From March 16th to April 3rd, building and development activity resulted in a total construction value of $133M. During this 3-week period, the City of Surrey issued 157 permits for a variety of projects including 168 single detached and multi-family (condos/townhouses/apartments) that will add to Surrey’s housing stock.