Mayor’s Statement: SPS running a deficit budget of over $26M
The 10 officers hired by the Surrey Police Service in December were neither approved nor budgeted for.
Surrey, B.C. – The 10 officers hired by the Surrey Police Service in December were neither approved nor budgeted for. In early 2023, Surrey Council approved the SPS budget at $48.7M. At the end of 2023, SPS had spent $75.4M, resulting in a massive budget overrun of $26.7M. Put another way, the SPS’s out of control spending in 2023 was 55% higher than what they were approved to spend. Rather than working within the budget that was approved by the City, SPS made expensive hires that it could not afford, including up to 100 people on payroll that are not deployed on the frontline. In other words, Surrey taxpayers are paying for SPS officers that are not deployed to keep Surrey safe. The SPS has continued its unauthorized hiring in 2024.
The majority of Surrey City Council is very concerned with the SPS’s free spending ways of taxpayer dollars. By law, civic budgets cannot run a deficit and must be balanced. The continued spending of the SPS shows that they are either negligent of the law or believe that the law does not apply to them.
It is important to note that the SPS was requested multiple times to stop any further hiring, including two formal requests by City Council and the City Manager (letters below). In August, I advised SPS Chief Constable Norm Lipinski that the City will not approve addition hiring of personnel until employees that have been hired are deployed to the front lines. Then, this past December, our City Manager informed the provincially appointed administrator for the Surrey Police Board that new hires would not be added to the City’s payroll system unless the hiring has been approved by the police of jurisdiction and is within the budget amounts approved by the City. Despite that, SPS has chosen to disregard any instruction and have continued to spend money it does not have.
Ultimately, the decision to continue with the SPS transition by the NDP government will cost Surrey taxpayers dearly. The 55% budget overrun racked up by the SPS in a single year is another sign of how costly this transition continues to be. We care about Surrey taxpayers and know that there is not a bottomless pit of tax dollars. That is why I, and the majority of Council, will continue to hold both the SPS and the NDP Government accountable for the heavy financial burden it is placing on Surrey residents and businesses.