The City of Surrey’s Finance Presentation unveiled crucial information on utility rates, sparking concerns.
“Understanding utility rates is vital for businesses to plan their operational costs,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT). “However, we believe it’s equally important for citizens to have ample time for input and for the City of Surrey to offer transparent and accurate information.”
The Drainage Utility, in particular, caught the attention of the SBOT. The City projected a five-year revenue of $240 million, boasting a surplus of 68%, a figure unprecedented in historical context.
Huberman raised several questions regarding the allocation and necessity of such a substantial surplus.
Key questions raised by the Surrey Board of Trade:
Reasons for Surplus: Why is such a substantial surplus deemed necessary for the Drainage Utility? Could the City provide insights into the specific reasons or objectives justifying this size of surplus?
Allocation of Capital Funds: The presentation indicated a five-year allocation of $136 million (60%) to capital for the Drainage Utility. Does this entire amount go towards enhancing the Drainage Utility’s capital infrastructure?
Discrepancy in Allocation: The SBOT referenced the 2022 Audited Financial Statements, noting a significant increase in capital allocation from the previous year. Can the City clarify the apparent mismatch between the City’s Budget and the allocation of the surplus by the Drainage Utility?
Transparency on Excessive Surplus: Concerns were raised about the information presented to taxpayers in the City’s Drainage Budgets. Where are the excessive annual surplus monies being spent, and can the City provide transparency on how these funds are utilized for the benefit of Surrey?
“We believe in the importance of a transparent and collaborative process. Our aim is to ensure that the City’s decisions align with the needs and expectations of the businesses and residents of Surrey. We are calling for a more inclusive public feedback process and clarity on the allocation of resources for the Drainage Utility.”
The Surrey Board of Trade encourages businesses and residents to stay informed and engaged in the ongoing discussions about utility rates and city budgets.