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2010 Office budget reflects need for contingency

Spending currently under budget; unused funds will go to hotel tax reserve

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Whistler's 2010 Olympic Games office will return its entire unspent budget to the hotel tax reserve.

Currently the budget of the office stands at $2.3 million with spending spread over three years: $993,608 was budgeted for 2008, this year's budget is $994,608 and 2010 is expected to be $894,608.

But, said Jim Godfrey, the municipality's executive director for 2010, the office is currently under budget.

"Right now we are tracking below our budgeted amounts so that is all staying within the (hotel tax reserve)," he said.

The budgets for 2009 and 2010 are almost identical, though the Games Office expects to shut down in the early summer of 2010 following the Olympics.

Godfrey said the budget was created to take into account unforeseen expenses at Games time. It is, in a way, he said, a contingency fund.

"We don't know if we are going to have increased costs for that operating period of the Games," he said.

Any money leftover from the budget will be returned to the hotel tax reserve.

"The Games Office is being funded from the hotel tax reserve so it is not coming from general revenue or property taxes," added Godfrey.

The Games Office is responsible for the overall coordination of Whistler's resources in planning and staging the Games. It currently has four staff members including Godfrey.

In addition to staffing, the Games Office budget includes provisions for general office expenses, legal and consulting services and a contingency allowance.

"...We are hoping that we will be able to accommodate our requirements... and present Whistler extremely well without having to spend as much as we have allocated at this point in time," said Godfrey.

"That is what we are trying for."

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