Council will consider revised budget at May 5 regular council meeting.
The 2020 RMOW Budget has been under review since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Staff are planning to present a revised Five-Year Financial Plan 2020 – 2024 at the May 5 Council meeting that reflects the significant decrease in revenue to the municipality this year and proposed reductions to capital and operations spending.
User fees, permit fees, and Municipal and Regional District Tax are expected to be dramatically below amounts budgeted at the beginning of the year, before the RMOW’s facilities were closed, programs cancelled and tourism and hotel stays came to a halt.
"Council and RMOW staff recognize there is a careful balance between reducing costs in reaction to COVID-19 impacts and maintaining key projects and service levels to make sure the community is in a position to be proactive on economic recovery when the time comes,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “This is the lens we are using to consider the 2020 Budget in light of the substantial impacts to the organization and community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The RMOW is looking into additional options for property tax timing but encourages all taxpayers that are able, to pay their taxes when they are due on July 2. Property taxes fund the majority of Whistler’s services, programs and projects.
Tax rate and utility fee bylaws will be considered at the regular Council meeting on May 5. Property tax notices will be mailed out in May.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler recognizes home and business owners may be concerned about paying property taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several existing programs and new support announced from the provincial government that may help.
For commercial property owners, the province has announced:
- A 25 per cent targeted reduction in commercial property taxes through reduced school taxes
- Postponing the date on which late payment penalties apply on commercial property taxes until October 1.
For residential homeowners, the province has a property tax deferral program that may help home owners defer their property tax payment. You may be eligible if you meet the below criteria:
- It is your primary residence
- You have children under 18 living at home with you
- You are over the age of 55, a surviving spouse of any age or a person with disabilities.
There is also the provincial Home Owner’s Grant that may reduce the amount of property tax owners pay on their primary residence. More information is available at www.whistler.ca/homeownergrant.
The provincial government regulates the collection of property taxes by municipalities, including due dates and penalties, and the RMOW is reviewing potential options to make adjustments to its current process. Only a portion of property taxes collected by the municipality remain in Whistler. The rest, including school taxes, BC Assessment fees, hospital taxes and taxes to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) are submitted to the province and the SLRD. The RMOW must remit these payments by August 1.
The RMOW has expressed the need to both the provincial and federal levels of government for appropriate tools and measures to allow municipalities to continue to deliver core municipal services and provide flexibility while managing severe financial shortfalls. As the COVID-19 situation changes, we expect that support from the provincial and federal governments will continue to evolve and we look forward to working closely with them as things change.