The 2010 Statements of Financial Information, in which the RMOW reports the salaries of staff members making over $75,000 per year, has just been released. Somehow I wasn't surprised to see the payroll of plus-$75,000 earners increase by approximately 11.5 per cent, or nearly triple the four per cent "contractual" municipal wage increase mandated in the employee handbook.
The RMOW's payroll as a whole increased by more than 10 per cent, at a time when they should have been drawing down staff after the Olympics.
The entire municipal payroll is approximately $26 million and the $22 million payroll of the municipal employees paid more than $75,000 is only going to 78 of the municipality's approximately 323 full-time equivalent positions. That means that 86 per cent of the municipal payroll is going to less than 25 per cent of the municipal staff.
This all comes at a time when Whistler homeowners are scrambling to make their property tax bills. Speaking for myself, I've seen my business income decimated over the last three years. Of the people I work with, several have had to close and move out of the community, the rest are just hanging on.
Never has the disconnect between the municipality and the community seemed greater to me.
My lovely missus was giving me an earful the other night. She kept going on at me about writing a positive letter for a change. So I told her I would acquiesce if she promised to put a sock in it, fetch me another beer then get back to the dishes!
Last weekend's soft opening of the magnificent Olympic Plaza has given me a perfect opportunity to do just so. Kudos to everyone involved with the vision, planning and construction of this fantastic space.
It really is something that the village was missing and will become a great nucleus for locals, guests and visitors alike to converge. I can't wait for summer to finally arrive so that I can lie down on the lush lawn, unleash the kids, gaze up at the mountains and ruminate about the wonderful town that we are privileged to live in.
Fingers crossed that when everything is completed, the final costs of the plaza will come in FIRMLY on budget!
I also fully agree with councillor (Tom) Thomson to revisit the idea of some sort of ice rink in the plaza, so that the area is used to its fullest potential year round, just as long as it doesn't mean I have to sell my first born in order to continue to live here.