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Surrey mayor’s office sends out budget release before vote

The mayor’s office in Surrey admits it made a very public mistake.

On Wednesday, the city sent out a media release about the results of Surrey’s 2022 budget — roughly half an hour before council was set to vote on the matter.

City Councillor Jack Hundial says the release said the 2.9 per cent property tax hike was going forward, even though the vote hadn’t happened yet.

“In today’s day and age, when you put out incorrect information, you should be held responsible. Because now you’re talking about both the integrity and credibility of the entire organization, not just the mayor’s office. I mean, that came out on City of Surrey letterhead, so ultimately, me as a representative of City of Surrey, I’m responsible for that as well. So I’d like for that to be righted or corrected,” Hundial said of the incident.


Hundial calls what happened inappropriate.

“This is taxpayer money that we’re deliberating on, and if you’re putting out predetermined press releases with your quotes in there, that is highly, highly offensive to any taxpayer in the City of Surrey,” Hundial told CityNews.

“Really, that’s quite offensive on multiple fronts, not only to the people who were there to speak and the public, but really those of us on council that do not necessarily agree with the mayor and you’re putting out a release predetermining it. Unless you’ve got a time machine, really, how did you know that’s what the vote was going to be?”

He says it’s ultimately the mayor who is accountable for such a mistake, adding he hope Doug McCallum will address what happened.

The mayor’s office tells CityNews the release went out after the finance committee met and that nothing in the release was inaccurate.

The final adoption of the budget has to go through four readings. The last one is on Friday.

Hundial says he was surprised to find the release had been sent out ahead of the vote.

“Generally, press releases do have some content in them that you sort of formulate, and actually put the quotes in afterwards when you actually have the time to frame them up. But in this particular case, when I opened it up and I look at the time stamp a couple of times, I was like, that press release came out at 2:35 — and it’s like two minutes after three right now. The meeting has just started.”

He notes he brought the matter up with the city manager in chambers right away.

Hundial is calling for whoever sent the release out to be held responsible.

“I would like for the person to apologize. But, ultimately, it’s not an employee that reports to me directly. It’s a City of Surrey staffer, so it’s really up to the City of Surrey, the general manager through the mayor’s office, to discuss and decide what happens with that individual.”

This is the latest controversy in Surrey municipal politics. Recently, McCallum was charged with public mischief related to an incident involving a group against the city’s move from the RCMP to a municipal force.

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