City taxpayers deserve the independent and transparent oversight of an auditor general: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (April 26, 2021): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis wants Surrey to 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 is introducing a notice of motion at today’s virtual meeting of council to begin researching the creation of an auditor general for Surrey, starting with a council-to-council conversation with the City of Vancouver.
“We’re a growing city heading towards 600,000 residents, and our budget in 2021 is more than $1.2 billion,” explained Annis. “Financially we’re bigger than most companies in British Columbia. We’re a major city with complex finances and programs, and our taxpayers deserve the confidence that comes with an independent auditor general that provides oversight of our finances, fiscal accountability, effective management controls, and the overall efficiency of city hall. The independence of an auditor general also ensures we take politics out of the equation, giving our taxpayers the unvarnished truth about how we’re doing as a city. For council, an auditor general is a tremendous resource, and for taxpayers it’s the confidence you get from knowing your city is doing things right.”
Annis said Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary and Edmonton have independent auditing offices, and Vancouver is about to join the group.
“You only have to look at our city’s complex financial statements and annual budgets to see that we would benefit from an auditor general that ensures we’re on the right track, that we’re getting real value from the tax dollars we’re spending, and that we’re managing the city with an eye to what’s best for our residents. It’s not a replacement for the work or role of city council, but it can certainly help council make better informed decisions.”
Annis said Vancouver is looking to hire its first auditor general and Surrey could learn a lot from the work they’ve already done.
“Surrey taxpayers deserve the best possible oversight of the tax dollars they send to city hall,” noted Annis. “The transparency and independence that comes with an auditor general is important to the future of our growing city. I’m hoping my motion will get unanimous support at council because our city isn’t getting any smaller, and when you’re looking at annual budgets in excess of $1 billion and growing, we need the clarity and transparency that comes from an independent eye on how we operate as a city. I believe that our taxpayers deserve nothing less, and I’m hoping my council colleagues will agree at today’s council meeting.”
Councillor Linda Annis