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'We are basically being controlled by the province': Surrey mayor says property tax break out of city control

Last Updated Apr 6, 2020 at 9:15 pm PDT

FILE - Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum (CityNews photo)

Coun. Linda Annis gave notice of a motion that would extend the deadline from July 2 until Dec. 2

Mayor Doug McCallum said the city can't make this move due to the provincial state of emergency

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — A move to defer property taxes in Surrey has been shot down, with Mayor Doug McCallum insisting the change can’t be made by the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taxes are due July 2, but Coun. Linda Annis was asking the city to extend the deadline for all residents and businesses until Dec. 2.

“So many people are feeling so much financial stress. A lot of people have lost their jobs, a lot of businesses have had to lay off people. I’ve heard that businesses revenue is down as much as 70 per cent from where it was a year ago. We need to work with them, we’re all in this together,” she said.

“I’d like to be able to give them time to be able to regroup, get back to work, and get their businesses up to speed again.”

At council–which met online Monday night–the mayor said the move can’t be made by the city.

“I’m not going to allow you to do it. I am going to rule it out of order and the reason is very clear. We’re under a state of emergency–provincial state of emergency–we are basically being controlled by the province,” McCallum said.

The mayor said he has already asked the province to postpone the deadline for payment by three months.

“We’ve applied to the provincial government already to move our taxes so we don’t need this motion. We’ve already done it and we’re awaiting approval from the province.”

States of Emergency declared by cities–with the exception of Vancouver–were suspended in favour of a provincial approach on March 26.

On March 31, Premier John Horgan extended B.C.’s state of emergency until April 14.