Budget guidelines endorsed and Council focus areas confirmed
Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) planning is well underway for 2020 with Council Focus Areas and the Budget Guidelines established to guide the organization in the year ahead and beyond.
Council has confirmed three Focus Areas for this term--Community Balance, Climate Action and Housing. These support the organization’s work toward six Corporate Goals and are ultimately aligned with the Community Vision as laid out in the 2020 Corporate Plan on a Page.
“Council is committed to the overall wellbeing and success of this community,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton. “At our recent retreat, we confirmed three areas of particular focus for this term—community balance, climate action, and housing—we will continue to check in on these annually. We have also approved budget guidelines that help deliver municipal services and projects with a modest increase in taxes and fees next year.”
Council endorsed guidelines for an operating budget of $90 million and a $41 million budget for 164 projects at the December 3 Council meeting.
The increase to general municipal taxes is 2.8 per cent and utilities parcel tax and user fees is 2 per cent. For a Whistler residential property with an assessed value of $1.6 million, this would result in an estimated utility increase of about $24, and a property tax increase of about $72 (assuming assessment increase is in line with average).
There are various funding sources available to the municipality, with property taxes making up around 42 per cent. Another 22 per cent is utility taxes and fees, 18 per cent is made up of provincial funding sources Municipal Regional District Tax and Resort Municipality Initiative Program—to be reinvested into provincially approved tourism projects—and the remainder are fees, charges, grants, and investment income.
The RMOW plans its annual and five-year budgets to manage day-to-day services, operations, projects, and infrastructure investments and to take into consideration the longer term strategy, challenges and vision for Whistler.
“There are so many things at play when we look at plans and priorities—right now growing population, regional growth and evolution, aging infrastructure, and our cyclical economy are major considerations,” added the Mayor. “As well, the balance between ensuring great service delivery for today, with the needs of the community for years to come, and between meeting the needs of both our community and our visitors” added the Mayor.
While a substantial amount of the work done at the municipality is reflected through the ongoing operating budget, this year’s project budget is heavy on community reinvestment and infrastructure. Some of the project highlights include major roads, sewer and water infrastructure work, Valley Trail extensions and lighting, Meadow Park rejuvenation, and new freestanding washrooms in the Village area. Continued major investments into community wildfire protection, as well as new investments into water metering, and new electric vehicle charging stations are also in the plans.
The newly formed Strategic Planning Committee will make headway next year in its long-term community planning work, while RMOW subsidiaries Whistler Housing Authority and Whistler 2020 Development Corporation will continue with new employee housing initiatives.
Find more budget information here.
An earlier planning cycle was introduced for 2020 with the budget coming before Council more than two months earlier than in the past. This enables the organization to have firm plans and budgets in place early in the year. The full 2020 Corporate Plan, the RMOW’s overarching strategic planning document, will be shared in the first quarter of 2020.
Other components of the RMOW annual corporate planning cycle include the annual report, which is shared annually midway through the year. In addition, for more than a decade, the RMOW has been committed to monitoring and reporting on over 90 indicators related to RMOW’s social, economic and environmental performance. Annual performance reporting provides a snapshot of the state of both the community and municipal organization.