Tax hike brought in by newly elected Council at the end of the last year and just days following municipal elections in Surrey started having effect. Public often hears that approximately 1200 people are coming in Surrey every month in search for more affordable and more accessible housing or better living standards. As a result of recent tax hike that number over the next year and this municipal government term could go down, those who came to find better easily will find themselves in struggle to keep their heads above a water.
First days of 2015 brought in not that great gifts to residents of Surrey especially renters. As it was already reported secondary suite hike will go up 28% in 2015 and following years. Additional $100 levy is introduced to pay for cultural and recreational facilities and services in Surrey, but many suspect that those dollars will at the end be used to pay for other city needs. All these are reasons why Surrey residents are feeling the heat in first days of 2015.
City administration indeed offered some explanations for the move. As it was reported Finance Committee Chair, three term Councillor Tom Gill, claimed that “unexpected” rise in costs of policing [benefits for RCMP members] and pay rise for Surrey firefighters were key elements in this decisions. It was almost unbelievable to hear these words from Committee Chair and they were denounced as “unexpected” by City staff at the budget presentation as hikes of which they knew months before municipal election in November.
Rents for Surrey residents who chose to live here instead in downtown Vancouver or any other community in Lower Mainland will go up anywhere from $50 to few hundred dollars to offset costs imposed on landlords. During budget presentation public heard from house owner who said that with these new taxes her family would not be able to afford house anymore and that question is for how many days she will have food on her table.
It will be interesting to see how they will act in communication with local government, but also what they will get back for their dollars.