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Financial tools woven into revised budget

Millions from hotel tax added to budget



Council made several changes to its 2006 budget Tuesday, not the least of which was adding the millions in new revenue from the hotel tax.

In May, after the budget was adopted, Premier Gordon Campbell announced that Whistler, and other resort communities, would be getting a bigger share of the hotel tax. That represents $3 million in additional revenues to this year’s budget and an additional $6 million in subsequent years, based on current occupancy rates and numbers. Most of the money will be directed towards Olympic expenditures.

On Tuesday council decided the amount this year this will go towards funding the $2.1 million deficit in the hotel tax reserve.

Every year for the next four years $2 million from hotel tax will be earmarked for the new Affordability Reserve. This is where the $8 million will come from to fund the 2010 athletes’ village.

The Event Support Reserve has been renamed the 2010 Games Reserve. This will get a $1.5 million contribution every year, up from the current $225,000 annual contribution.

Another $1 million each year has been set aside for tourism promotion.

Every year $250,000 will be earmarked for customer service/visitor experience training and $175,000 per year will fund a major conference event.

There have also been several changes to the budget due to factors beyond Whistler’s control, such as external grants.

The budget originally had the 21 Mile Creek UV disinfection project listed at $1.4 million funded from external grant. That project will now be funded from the Water Capital reserve.

The $2 million Gateway Loop project, to improve the layout of that transit area, was expected to be 50 per cent funded from grants. That funding has not been forthcoming and the project has been postponed.