Surrey council and staff expenses increase

But overall, it cost taxpayers $25 million less to run the city last year than it did in 2010.

Surrey City Council expenses were up about $71,000 last year over the year prior.

Surrey City Council expenses were up about $71,000 last year over the year prior.

It cost $25 million less to run Surrey last year compared to 2010, according to financial figures released by the city this month.

Surrey’s 2011 Statement of Financial Information details how much money was received and how much was spent.

The city spent $605 million last year, and of that, $453 million went to suppliers and third-party contracts – a drop of $37 million from 2010.

Of that, $324,000 was spent bringing former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton ($102,453) and George Bush ($221,847) to Surrey’s Regional Economic Summit, but those costs were recouped through ticket sales.

Another $150 million went to staff costs in 2011, which was an $11-million increase from the year prior.

And Surrey council rang up $799,433 last year, which was an increase of $70,873.

Most of that was for civic trips, the most expensive of which was a business trip to India, which cost about $14,000 for the councillors attending.

The politician with the biggest increase in expenses was Coun. Barinder Rasode, who rang up $33,360 – a $15,791 jump from the year prior.

Mayor Dianne Watts and Coun. Linda Hepner came in neck and neck for second, spending $29,618 and $29,480 respectively, both about $17,000 more than they charged to city accounts in 2010.

Coun. Judy Villeneuve charged $11,050 to her city accounts, a $3,443 drop from the year prior.

Couns. Tom Gill (up $7,721 from 2010) and Marvin Hunt (up $2,450) spent just over $19,000 each, and Couns. Bob Bose (up $93) and Mary Martin (down $3,380) rang up just north of $9,100.

The most frugal councillor was Barbara Steele, who spent $8,498 last year, a drop of $2,046 from the year prior.

Rasode said her costs reflect the number of events she attends, both in the community and in other cities, through municipal lobby organizations.

“I always say to people, they can take a look at where I’ve spent the money and give me some suggestions as to where they think I should not have gone,” Rasode said.

The full report of city expenses can be found at http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/6511.aspx.

Surrey Now Leader