Whistler needs $5 million for vehicles over next five years

image via jalopnik.com

Vehicle replacements just one of several capital programs needing money over next half decade

By Jesse Ferreras, Pique Newsmagazine

January 27, 2011

With a palm outstretched to council, staffers at the Resort Municipality of Whistler are seeking nearly $5 million for a vehicle fleet over the next five years.

That’s according to Schedule A of an Administrative Report to Council on the 2011-2015 Five-Year Financial Plan, which aims to identify and allocate financial resources for new capital assets, infrastructure maintenance and projects that aren’t part of ongoing municipal operations.

The amounts described in the report are preliminary budgets that were discussed at a council meeting on Wednesday evening, an irregular date that was after Pique‘s publication deadline.

The 11-page schedule describes a long list of capital needs for various departments at the municipality. One of them is $4,826,476 from 2011 to 2015 for vehicle purchases, with $808,395 to be spent this year. Comments in the schedule state that municipal vehicles and equipment identified through the Fleet Management system must be replaced every year.

Speaking to Pique via e-mail, Ken Roggeman, the RMOW’s manager of fiscal planning, said “vehicle purchases” cover the “planned cost of replacing vehicles and equipment.” The purchases are expected to include cars, backhoes, trailers, generators and various other pieces of equipment.

“Replacement is timed to minimize long term costs by considering ongoing maintenance costs, resale value and replacement costs,” he wrote in his e-mail.

Earlier in the report it is stated that vehicle and equipment purchases have been decreased by $240,000 for “purchases deferred to later years.” The report ultimately recommends that council approve the vehicle purchases along with several other budgets requested by municipal departments.

The amount requested for vehicles in the next five years is less than half the amount allotted for vehicle purchases between 2007 and 2011. According to that plan, municipal council approved spending of $9,912,973 on vehicles in those five years.

Councillors approved $2,325,704 for vehicles in 2007; $2,102,762 in 2008; $2,502,358 in 2009; $1,467,893 in 2010; and $1,514,256 in 2011, an amount that has since been downgraded to $808,395 for the year.

Other budgets requested in the 2011-2015 financial plan include a total $143,000 for the Whistler Public Library in 2011. That includes $85,000 to go towards the library’s collection and $58,000 to go to furniture and equipment.

The $85,000, which would go to ordering books, magazines and audiovisual materials, is money that was in the facility’s operating budget last year but because of changes in provincial legislation the collection has been designated a capital asset of the RMOW, according to Library Director Lauren Stara. The library now has to request the money out of the municipality’s coffers as part of this process.

Over five years, the collection budget adds up to $425,000.

“They decided that to make it a more accurate accounting, (they) would separate that money out into its own separate little lump,” she said of the province’s new accounting rules. “That’s what that is, I believe its $85,000 a year for the next five years. That’s a medium budget for a library our size. It’s not spectacular, but it’s not scraping the bottom of the barrel either.”

The $58,000 for library furniture and equipment, meanwhile, is to come out of a $228,000 reserve fund that’s the result of a capital campaign and will not present any burden on tax revenues, Stara said. The money is expected to go to furniture that has been damaged, broken or soiled, as well as replacing computers.

The $228,000 is all the money that’s in the fund, she said, and it’s been budgeted for use over the five years.

“It is not tax-based money,” Stara said. “The municipality is holding it for us because they’re our bank, but it is not municipal money, it’s library money. It belongs to the library.”

More council news will be posted on the Pique’s website and in next week’s paper. Go to http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com

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About jesseferreras

Sea to Sky-based journalist. Snowboarder, cyclist, cinephile, bon vivant.
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