Financial Plan Bylaw to be considered at April 10 Council meeting
Whistler Council endorsed guidelines for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW)’s 2018 budget at their meeting this week.
The guidelines will be used to draft the 2018–2022 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw, the RMOW’s annual budget document, and include implementing increases of 2.25 per cent to property taxes, 1.1 per cent to sewer parcel taxes and user fees, and 4.5 per cent to solid waste parcel taxes and fees. There are no changes to the water parcel taxes and fees.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said, “Throughout the year Council receives input from the community and makes decisions informed by long-range plans and research, which all have financial implications. The annual budget process allows us to look at our organization’s plans and priorities, comprehensively, to determine how to deliver them to you in the most fiscally responsible manner.”
The 2018 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. During the last six years RMOW tax and user fees have increased at about the same or lesser rates than inflation. Annual increases to tax revenues are typical as property value taxes do not rise or fall with changes in assessed values. In addition, the municipality makes consistent annual contributions to operating and capital reserves, about $14 million, that enable stable tax revenue changes from year to year.
The 2018–2022 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw includes more than 185 projects with a total possible 2018 expenditure of $40 million. These projects represent significant community investments to support corporate goals and strategies and Council priorities, and the following major projects account for more than half of the total project budget:
- Community Wildfire Protection
- Village Square & Mall Rejuvenation-Wayfinding
- Cultural Connector
- Upgrade Roads
- Upgrade Day Lot 5
- Fleet Replacement
- Nesters Waste Depot Site
- Upgrade-Emerald Water System
- Replacement-Sewer Mains
- Composter Wood Chip Storage Building Construction
- Recreate Infrastructure Replacement
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 impact current year revenue requirements.
Preparation of the 2018 budget is guided by the 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, letters to Council and discussions; and thoughtful community planning and research.
Some of the key factors affecting the 2018 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
- Working with resort partners and managing local impacts of Sea to Sky Corridor growth
- 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 and non-labour costs, the RCMP contract, and Whistler’s transit agreement
- Increased contract costs for solid waste transportation and processing.
The 2018–2022 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw will be brought forward for consideration and adoption by Council at the regular Council meeting on April 10 and April 24.
The tax rate bylaws will be brought forward for consideration and adoption by Council on April 24 and May 10.
Tax notices are mailed out at the end of May and municipal property taxes are due on Tuesday, July 4. Property owners are encouraged to sign up to receive property tax notices by email and to review property tax information online with “MyWhistler.” Register for MyWhistler and find other online municipal services at whistler.ca/onlineservices.
Find more information about 2018 budget process at whistler.ca/budget.