New online portal provides more opportunities for community members to have their say
Community members have a new online engagement portal to view to view 2022 Budget materials, presentations, frequently asked questions and videos and submit questions, ideas and feedback to Council and staff until December 21, 2021. A link to the new portal is available at whistler.ca/budget.
The 2022 Budget Community Information Session was held at Maury Young Arts Centre on November 18, 2021 with presentations from Chief Administrative Officer VirginiaCullen and Director of Finance Carlee Price. A video of those presentations is now available online at whistler.ca/budget.
“We are pleased to offer expanded online opportunities for the community to engage with our proposed budget for 2022,” said Mayor Jack Crompton. “This is Whistler’s budget. Council and staff rely on community feedback to set priorities and align our spending accordingly. I encourage everyone to take some time to visit whistler.ca/budget to connect with our new online portal, consider the budget we have presented and share their feedback.”
The RMOW carefully plans its annual and five-year budgets to manage day-to-day services and operations, projects and infrastructure investments and to take into consideration the longer term strategy, challenges and vision for Whistler.
The 2022 Budget proposes a 6.72 per cent increase to property tax fees. In 2021, Council passed a 1.08 per cent increase to property tax fees to provide relief to residents and business owners who were feeling the impacts of COVID-19. The initially proposed tax increase to fund the services the RMOW provides for 2021 was 4.89 per cent.
At that time, staff shared with the community that one percent tax increases were not sustainable. The rising demand for services in Whistler and the requirement to maintain healthy reserve (savings) accounts to help pay for long-term infrastructure repair and replacement means that additional investment is required for the community to continue to thrive and to avoid this risk of significant increases to property taxes in the future.
Following the Community Budget Information meeting, there will be further refinements of the proposed project and operating budgets to incorporate community feedback. Budget guidelines will be developed by staff to be presented at the December 21, 2021 Regular Council Meeting. The Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw is tentatively scheduled for first three readings by Council on January 11, 2022 and adoption later that month. The Tax Rate Bylaws must be adopted before May 15, 2022. Property tax statements are mailed to homeowners in May.
The RMOW annual budget helps to inform the annual Corporate Plan. Both documents are guided by the overall community vision and Official Community Plan (OCP) which was officially adopted in 2020. To ensure progress towards this vision, there are established key performance indicators on a wide variety of social, environmental, and economic factors. The annual Community Life Survey is one of the key ways that we check in with the community each year and results are incorporated into the monitoring program. To learn more, visit whistler.ca/monitoring.