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Council still waiting on 'software solutions'

Q3 financials offer no surprises

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While there are no surprises in the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) third-quarter financials, a project that could prove beneficial to local councillors fell by the wayside in 2017.

The Council Software Solution project — included in last year's project list with a budget of $32,000 — seeks to efficiently create and archive RMOW council meetings and related materials, allowing easier access for Whistler's decision makers.

The project was put aside last year due to changes in management and legislative services at the RMOW, explained council clerk Brooke Browning.

"At this point, we don't have it as a top priority (for 2018) just considering the general election happening (in October) and (hosting the Union of BC Municipalities convention in September), but it is open to discuss later," Browning said at the Jan. 9 council meeting.

As it stands now, councillors must remember the date of a presentation and sort through piles of documents to find the information they're looking for, said Coun. Sue Maxwell.

"It sounds like it's too late for this council, but for future councils it would be really helpful to have all the documents in one place," Maxwell said.

"So if we want to empower council to do a good job, I think that this would be important."

The discussion came after the RMOW's Q3 financials were presented to council at the Jan. 9 meeting.

Nine months into the fiscal year, overall revenues were at 86 per cent and expenditures at 73 per cent of their budgeted amounts.

"Overall, I feel that we are relatively on track with respect to the operating revenues and expenditures," said director of finance Ken Roggeman in a presentation to council.

"Where there is actual or there is possible negative variances to budget, we take the time to review that, we manage how we can move forward, can remain on track."

Resort Municipality Initiative funds were not received before Sept. 30, but have since been accounted for.

In terms of RMOW investment funds, income to the end of Q3 was $1,583,799 (unaudited) — 67 per cent of the total budgeted income for the year.

"I expect or forecast that our investment return for the year is not going to turn out as good as we expected or what we had experienced in previous years, primarily because the (Municipal Finance Authority) pool fund has returned just 0.71 per cent to the end of September," Roggeman said.

"I guess the upside of that is we used to have twice as much money in the MFA pooled funds. We have started divesting from that over the last number of years and will continue to do so until we see that there is opportunity for a better return."

Municipalities are restricted by the community charter in what they can invest in, Roggeman explained.

"Most of our investments are fixed term in nature, so because we are a local government we have to be conservative," he said. "Because it's set out in the community charter, essentially the principle is always protected and then we get whatever return we can."

The 2018 budget process is well underway at municipal hall, and Whistlerites will get their first look at an open house in late February.

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