Re: Election Ads of Mitch Rhodes
Council candidate Mitch Rhodes has expressed concerns about Whistler's finance and budget matters in his ads that are either misleading or actually in error. Whistler has an excellent financial position long term debt is falling, investment income is rising, spending is controlled in a rapidly rising assessment base and capital projects are saved up for on a "pay as you go" basis. It is important because of this criticism to set the record straight so voters can make their decision with the benefit of true information and circumstances. As a member of the last council, I can provide extra information and reasoning to assist Mr. Rhodes in his investigation.
The matter of concern he lists can be clarified and set straight as follows:
$1 Million Web Site $1 million was not spent on a Web site. This was a staff proposal brought forth at a public meeting and withdrawn after discussion and input from council and the public. Staff proposals are encouraged and presented in public where possible.
$1.5 Million Fire Hall Spring Creek fire hall's budget in the 5 Year Financial Plan is over $1.8 million for construction and furnishings. This reflects the LEEDS Gold green building design which provides efficiencies over the life of the building to reduce the over-all cost package to below that of an environmentally inefficient design. Whistler Municipality is leading the way in green buildings. Not only will that save money in the long run, but it also shows our commitment as a community to the environment through sustainable design.
$3 Million Millennium Place No taxpayers money has been spent on Millennium Place's capital program. All money to construct Millennium Place was raised privately. I helped the RMOW renew the MYMP mortgage with a guarantee that has allowed an interest saving of 3 per cent or over $100,000 per year. The $3.5 million guarantee is secured by $2 million of committed pledges and by the entire $7 million project a solid and safe investment.
$740,000 Whistler, It's Our Future This is the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan, which will replace our old, out-dated Official Community Plan. Victoria requires us to have an Official Community Plan. To plan and consult with the community on where we're going, this overall budget has been set aside. It represents about 3 per cent of 2001 RMOW capital expenditures or less than 4/10 of 1 per cent of Whistler's financial assets.
$10 Million Library Museum The municipality has assisted in crown land being donated by the province and will contribute up to $5 million of construction costs for this library/museum/underground parking structure/commercial and retail project only after $5 million in private donations have been raised.