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Budget proposes 2.25% tax increase

Solid waste, sewer parcel fees also going up

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Whistlerites can expect another small tax increase this year, along with rising solid waste and sewer parcel fees.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is proposing a 2.25-per-cent increase to property taxes, a 4.5-per-cent increase to solid waste user fees and a 1.1-per-cent increase to sewer parcel taxes.

There is no proposed increase for water rates at this time.

"Historically it has ranged from 0 all the way up to 8 per cent," said municipal director of finance Ken Roggeman of the property tax increase, adding that a 2.25-per-cent increase on a $500,000 assessed property would amount to about $23 more, and about $47 more on a property assessed at $1 million.

The solid waste increase would amount to about $13 more per single-family dwelling.

The proposed increases were announced at a budget open house on Thursday, Feb 22 at the Maury Young Arts Centre.

About 20 people were on hand to learn more about the 2018 budget and ask questions of council and municipal staff.

The 2018 proposed-project list details $40.3 million in spending spread over 185 projects, more than half of it directed at Infrastructure Services.

Some big-ticket standouts for 2018 include $3.2 million for fleet replacement, $2.8 million for the artificial turf field at Bayly Park, $2.2 million to upgrade the Emerald Water System, $2.4 million for sewer main replacement, $1.46 million for community wildfire protection, $1.24 million for Village Square rejuvenation, $1.65 million for road upgrades and $1.6 million to upgrade Day Lot 5.

Proposed project and operating budgets will be refined using input received at the open house, with budget guidelines to be officially presented to council in March.

The bylaws are tentatively scheduled for first three readings at the April 10 council meeting, with adoption set for April 24.

Readings of this year's tax-rate bylaws are also tentatively set for April 24.

Find more information and updates on this year's budget at www.whistler.ca/budget.

NOTABLE PROJECT SPENDING BY DIVISION (2018)

CAO OFFICE

-$15,000 for BC Energy Step Code policy development. The Step Code is a voluntary provincial standard enacted last year aimed at providing a consistent approach to creating more energy efficient buildings that go beyond the BC Building Code.

-$20,000 for a First Nations Cultural Liaison

-$125,000 to host the 2018 Union of BC Municipalities convention

-$1,461,930 for Community Wildfire Protection

CAO TOTAL: $2,134,125

RESORT EXPERIENCE

-$50,000 for UNESCO Geopark designation. Currently only two in Canada, declaring Whistler an UNESCO Geopark would place added recognition on its natural values, combining conservation with sustainable development.

-$958,000 for the Cultural Connector. The scenic pathway linking Whistler's six key cultural institutions will receive further upgrades in 2018 pending budget approval.

-$2,815,000 for the artificial turf field at Bayly Park. The long-debated project will finally break ground this year in Cheakamus Crossing. The RMOW has yet to confirm what type of infill will be used.

TOTAL: $11,936,722

INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES

-$960,000 for Gateway Loop reconstruction. One of last year's biggest projects carries on in 2018 with an almost $1 million spend.

-$200,000 for sidewalks in Function Junction. Stakeholders in Whistler's increasingly busy light industrial neighbourhood have been calling for sidewalks since 2013, and it looks like 2018 will finally be the year.

-$1,610,000 to upgrade Day Lot 5. Plans for the gravel lot include paving, line painting, lights and enhancements to the nearby Valley Trail.

-$120,000 in support of the Transportation Advisory Group. Money will be spent on traffic studies and initiatives that arise from TAG recommendations.

TOTAL: $21,534,108

CORPORATE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

-$155,000 for wildfire protection

-$150,000 to expand the cardio room at the Meadow Park Sports Centre (followed by another $1,210,000-spend in 2019)

-$160,000 for the Sea to Sky Evacuation Transportation Plan

TOTAL: $4,695,758

2018 PROPOSED PROJECTS TOTAL: $40,310,713

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