Surrey First city Councillor Linda Annis says it’s time Surrey joins other major Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver in having an independent auditor general make sure this city’s taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.
But council roundly defeated Annis’s motion to this end at Monday’s council meeting, with members making the ironic argument that it would be too expensive a move to approve.
“The cost of this is fairly extraordinary, $1 million to $2 million,” Councillor Brenda Locke said. “So right now, I don’t think it’s necessary. I know we have an independent audit of the city anyway.”
Councillor Laurie Guerra agreed, noting “every single year” Surrey wins awards for achieving a standard of excellence in its finances. “At this point, it would cost way too much money as far as I’m concerned for something that is not a necessity.”
Annis had argued that Surrey taxpayers deserve the “best possible oversight of the tax dollars they send to city hall.
“The transparency and independence that comes with an auditor general is important to the future of our growing city,” she argued, noting Surrey has nearly 600,000 residents, its 2021 budget is more than $1.2 billion and it’s financially bigger than most companies in this province.