Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) staff presented council with a financial report for the first quarter of 2021, concluding on March 31, that highlights the stark contrast between pre- and post-pandemic circumstances.
The municipality's revenues totalled just shy of $5.5 million in the first quarter, compared to $6.8 million in Q1 of 2020—largely before the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Whistler, RMOW director of finance Carlee Price pointed out during a council meeting on Tuesday, July 20.
“The year-over-year comparisons are still a little bit apples to oranges,” she said. “Total revenues were down 19.3 per cent from 2020 levels and achieved six per cent of full-year budgeted amounts in the first quarter, compared to eight per cent last year.”
Funds from B.C.’s Resort Municipality Initiative and the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) amounted to $236,867, significantly less than the more than $1.4 million earned through these revenue streams in 2020. MRDT revenue was also affected by the cyber attack incident that affected the RMOW in April: According to the report, system limitations meant only a single month of MRDT revenue was recorded in the first quarter of 2021.
“This number will normalize somewhat in the second quarter,” Price cautioned.
Transit fares, leases and rent pulled in 44 per cent less in 2021 than in did in 2020—$737,684 compared to more than $1.3 million the year prior—as ridership declined along with economic activity in the community.
With Meadow Park Sports Centre operating under capacity constraints in 2021, programs and admissions fell 28 per cent from the previous year, bringing in $434,142 compared to $599,883 in 2020.
On the brighter side, revenue from permits and fees was up from $1.35 million in 2020 to $1.866 million in 2021.
Operating expenditures, meanwhile, were down two per cent year-over-year during the first quarter, reaching 24 per cent of full-year budgeted amounts compared to 25 per cent in 2020.
“Here the effects of the pandemic can be seen most clearly in the composition rather than the total level of spending,” explained Price. “Specifically, higher spending in segments like communications and economic development reflected the needs of the pandemic environment. Likewise, events and animation spending was lower compared to 2020.”