Budget amended to reflect lower hotel tax revenues 

A few changes to the municipality’s Five Year Financial Plan will be made before it is adopted at a special council meeting on Monday, May 10.

One of the biggest changes is the shortfall in the municipal hotel tax.

Originally the budget anticipated hotel tax worth $3.7 million in 2004, which would be a slight increase over the 2003 results.

The 2003 results were actually six per cent lower than the previous year.

But after hotel tax receipts for the first two month of the year were received, it was apparent that rather than an increase over last year’s numbers, the hotel tax had decreased by 15 per cent.

A revision of the 2004 budget now reflects a 10 per cent reduction in hotel tax revenues over 2003.

The five year forecast now assumes that Whistler will not get back on track to 2002 hotel tax revenues for another four years.

Another major change in the budget is the business tax ratio decrease, which will slightly lessen the property tax burden on local businesses.

The change means there will be more than a $380,000 reduction in the municipality’s operating surplus.

This is reflected in the budget with a $400,000 reduction in property tax revenue projections.

Over the course of the five year financial plan this could result in a $2 million reduction in operating surplus.

John Nelson, general manager of corporate services, said it was natural for surpluses to be stretched on a downturn.

Councillor Kristi Wells remained concerned about the business tax decrease and as such, was opposed to the tax rate bylaw.

Council will meet to adopt the Five Year Financial Plan at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 10.

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