Surrey City Hall was overflowing Monday night in a scene described as “chaos,” due to the new budget.
City council passed a contentious five-year financial plan, despite protesters shouting and speaking over each other.
The new budget is allocating $130 million for a new Surrey Police Force, but there are no additional funds for other police officers, firefighters, or community resources.
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) December 17, 2019
“What a night! #SurreyBC Council ends in chaos over the sacking of the RCMP & lack of police funding,” tweeted Harold Steves.
Surrey’s 2020 budget includes a 2.9% property tax increase, along with one-time capital costs to help pay for the new independent police force’s transition.
The budget means there is no room to hire more firefighters, in order to prioritize police funding.
Surrey Council Kept Tight-Lipped
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said council members were not allowed to speak on budget items due to “safety issues.” He said those who interrupted the meeting would be escorted out.
Former city councillor Mike Starchuk with the protest group “Speak up Surrey” said it was “disturbing” that council members were not allowed to speak.
“For somebody to stand in front of all those people and take that right away, that’s completely and totally irresponsible and wrong,” he said.
Meanwhile, protesters from two groups chanted outside, while City Hall had more than 400 people in the council chambers. Hundreds more stood in the lobby.
At one point, the Mayor’s Safe Surrey coalition left because of all the booing. People also took to Twitter to express their concerns about the new budget.
Surrey BC Community Advocates tweeted, “Surrey BC has gone back to being the butt of all jokes again and destroys our amazing city.”
— Shanel Pratap (@shanelpratap) December 17, 2019
Regardless, the budget was approved by a 5-4 vote.
What are your thoughts on the Surrey City Council budget plan?
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