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Budget proposes 2.8% property tax increase

Water, sewer and other infrastructure take strong focus

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Another tax increase is in store for Whistlerites with next year's municipal budget.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is proposing a 2.8-per-cent property tax increase in 2020, along with two-per-cent increases to sewer, water parcel and solid waste fees.

The details were revealed at an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 12, attended by about 30 people.

As in previous years, the relative change of the value of your property will determine whether your tax bill increases or decreases, said director of finance Carlee Price.

"If [your] property appreciates by some amount in 2020 that's greater than the average for the community, [your] tax bill will go up by more than the average amount. If [your] property appreciates less, or if the value of [your] property declines, then the tax amount owing may actually go down," Price said in a presentation at the open house.

"So one of the reasons why we can't get specific about dollar amounts just yet is that none of you have these assessment values before you. They will be mailed out in January."

The two per cent increases to sewer, water and solid waste fees equate to an increase of $23.61 over last year's fees, Price said.

The 2020 to 2024 proposed-projects list places a heavy focus on infrastructure, with a whopping $50.4 million directed to sewer and water projects over the next five years (the RMOW did not have the total number of projects, as well as their total value, ready at the open houseā€”for reference, last year's budget included 176 projects worth $42.6 million and a total value of $87 million, as well as a tax increase of 2.9 per cent, two-per-cent increases to sewer parcel and water fees, and a 3.6-per-cent increase to solid waste user fees).

"Whistler is middle aged; it's time to do some knee replacements,"; said Mayor Jack Crompton.

"Those pipes, those below ground infrastructure projects are critical to maintaining this community moving forward."

Now in his second budget process as mayor, Crompton said council and staff have spent a lot of time considering priorities and service levels.

"The annual budget process allows us to look at our organization's plans and priorities comprehensively to determine how to deliver them in the most fiscally responsible way. We know going into the budget every year that there are some cost pressures and some opportunities. This year is no exception," he said.

"As our community and infrastructure matures, services and costs see upward pressures, and as economic cycles fluctuate, it is a continual balancing act to ensure we are investing where we need to, maintaining the right level of services for our community and guests, and looking forward to future needs to build on our successful foundation."

Find the full, proposed-projects list, along with more local budget information, at www.whistler.ca/budget.

Comments on the budget can be submitted by email to budget@whistler.ca.

Pick up Thursday's Pique for more on the proposed 2020 budget.

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