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Surrey taxpayers deserve the independent and transparent oversight of an auditor general: Councillor Linda Annis

Surrey, B.C. (November 22, 2022): As Surrey city hall begins budget preparations for the new fiscal year, Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis is bringing back her call for an independent auditor general for the City of Surrey.  In April, 2021, Annis called for an independent auditor general, an office that other big cities in the country already have, along with the federal government and provinces. That earlier motion was voted down by council.

“I’ll be bringing forward a notice of motion at our next council meeting to have Surrey join the growing ranks of major Canadian cities that count on the independent oversight of an auditor general to ensure taxpayers are getting the best value from their city’s operations and municipal finances,” Annis said. “In 2021, Vancouver became the latest big city to hire an independent auditor general, something we need to do in Surrey. Our annual city budget is topping $1.3 billion and we need that sort of oversight. If we had an independent auditor general, the finances and operations around the police transition could have been completely transparent. At the same time, an auditor general would have had the capacity and authority to dive into how and why more than 50 development applications were rushed through the final days of the last city council.”

Surrey First Councillor Mike Bose said Surrey is heading towards 600,000 residents, and the city’s annual budget would benefit from an independent set of eyes.

“The fact is, our city is actually bigger than most companies in British Columbia,” noted Bose. “The City of Surrey includes complex finances and large public expenditures on programs and services. Our taxpayers deserve the confidence that comes with an independent auditor general that provides oversight of our finances, fiscal transparency and accountability, management controls, and the overall efficiency of city hall. The independence of an auditor general takes politics out of the equation. The result is the unvarnished truth, something we believe our new council wants back at city hall.”

Annis said the transparency that comes from an independent auditor general, and the savings generated by their audits and reviews of city programs and finances, makes the position increasingly valuable as Surrey and its complex finances continue to grow.

“This new city council has a chance to be transparent and open, something voters demanded in the recent election,” said Annis. “An independent auditor general would send a strong signal that city hall is an open book, something that was missing over the past four years. We now have the chance to do things differently, so I am hoping there is unanimous support for this independent office.”