Council to vote on budget guidelines February 26
Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) staff and Mayor Jack Crompton shared an overview of Whistler’s budget planning overview and priorities with the community on Monday, February 4.
The guidelines will go in front of Council for approval on February 26. The guidelines will be used to draft the 2019–2023 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw, the RMOW’s annual budget document, and include implementing increases of 2.9 per cent to property taxes, two per cent to sewer parcel taxes and user fees, two per cent to water parcel taxes and fees and 3.6 per cent to solid waste parcel taxes and fees.
Whistler’s Budget is put together with input from the community and consideration for goals set out in the RMOW Corporate Plan in these areas
- Community character and mountain culture
- Stewardship for natural assets and ecology
- Excellence in infrastructure and management
- Financial health toward long term success
- Effective balance of resort and community
- Accountability, transparency and engagement
“Throughout the year staff and Council receive input from the community and make decisions informed by long-range plans and research, which all have financial implications,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “Thoughtful planning and research have resulted in plans and policies to protect what we love here, keep the door open for innovation and opportunities and plan for a prosperous future.”
The 2019 budget guidelines will allow the RMOW to continue to deliver a high level of service to residents and visitors, while balancing current community needs and costs with anticipated future needs. Annual increases to tax revenues are not unusual as the municipality faces cost increases due to factors outside its control, such as employer taxes and energy costs, and must maintain adequate operating and capital reserves contributions that reduce the risk of steep tax increases enable stable tax revenue changes from year to year.
The 2019–2023 Five Year Financial Plan consists of 176 projects. Total proposed budget cost in 2019 is $42.6 million. This includes up to $5.3 million that was not used and carried forward from the 2018 project budget. The previous financial plan, 2018-2022, included more than $40 million in project costs for the 2018 year. The following major projects account for more than half of the total project budget:
- Community Wildfire Protection and Fire Smart
- Water main upgrades
- Valley Trail expansions (Rainbow to Scotia Creek and Millar Creek to Function Junction)
- Roads and sidewalk upgrades (including Function Junction pedestrian pathway)
- MPSC Cardio room expansion
- Sewer lift system and sewer main improvements and repairs
- Three village washroom buildings
- New MPSC pool dehumidifier
- Fleet purchases (including new fire trucks and snow plows)
- Reservoir upgrades
- Recreation infrastructure replacements
Funding for projects comes from municipal reserves, the Province of British Columbia’s Resort Municipality Initiative grant, Municipal and Regional District Tax (hotel tax), and other sources such as grants. This means that project budgets do not directly impact current year revenue requirements.
Preparation of the 2019 budget is guided by the updated draft Official Community Plan, the 2018 RMOW Corporate Plan and other municipal guiding documents; the leadership of the Audit and Finance Committee, staff and Council; direction provided throughout the year by committees of Council; feedback from the community through meetings, surveys, and discussions; and thoughtful community planning and research.
Some of the key factors affecting the 2019 budget include:
- Delivering core municipal services while managing demand for high levels of service
- Balancing fiscal prudence against changing community pressures such as housing and transportation
- Maintaining our long term economic, social, and ecological resilience
- Anticipated increases in non-tax revenue sources such as a parking and building permit fees, due to the strong economic activity in the resort, and indexing fees for municipal facilities. These increases will help to offset costs to maintain high resident and visitor service and satisfaction levels
- New growth (also known as non-market change), as a result of new development and the redevelopment of properties, which will result in increased property tax revenues
- Increasing labour costs such as increases in employer-paid taxes and the addition of new positions
- Whistler’s transit agreement and increase in service hours
- Additional hotel tax revenues to invest in tourism initiatives
- Increased contract costs for solid waste transportation and processing
Budget Guidelines to Council on February 26.
The 2019–2023 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw will be brought forward for consideration and adoption by Council on March 26.
The tax rate bylaws will be brought forward for consideration and adoption by Council before May 15.
Tax notices are mailed out at the end of May and municipal property taxes are due on Tuesday, July 2. Property owners are encouraged to sign up to receive property tax notices by email and to review their property tax information online with “MyWhistler.” Register for MyWhistler and find other online municipal services at whistler.ca/onlineservices.
Find more information about 2019 budget process at whistler.ca/budget.