Teachable Moments

Teachable Moments is intended to highlight issues that municipal finance personnel should be aware of but may have slipped off your radar. Or perhaps you are newer to the sector and simply haven't gotten that far in your learning curve. With each monthly newsletter, there will be a brief commentary on a random topic, including links to more detailed information and/or training opportunities should you wish to pursue more in-depth learning or research on that particular topic.

Happy learning!

IDDateTitleLinkDescription
911/8/2022 12:00:00 AMOPTA Training Videoshttps://opta.reamined.on.ca/OPTA provides a wide variety of training videos to help you navigate the tax options, tax planning functions and overall use of the website. A log-in to the OPTA website is required.
810/3/2022 12:00:00 AMOPTA Training Tools and Resources OPTA has several great resources for property tax professionals to help analyze and deliver tax planning information into the budget process. One such resource is the Knowledgebase. There are more options for your use further down the webpage. Happy tax planning!
79/6/2022 12:00:00 AMNew FIR Dashboards The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s Financial Information Return website has introduced select dashboards. The tools allow for easy manipulation of data from schedules 10 (revenues), 40 (expenses), and 70 (statement of financial position). It allows filtering by region or municipality. The schedule 10 dashboard also permits filtering on different individual line items for trend analysis over the 2009-2021 period.
68/1/2022 12:00:00 AMReserves and Reserve Funds, Not Just Hoarding Cash As municipalities enter both a new budget and election cycle, a popular point of discussion is the purpose of reserves and reserve funds. Reserves and reserve funds are an important tool for a municipality’s long-term financial sustainability, but this can be challenging to communicate to both Councils and the public. To help municipal finance staff, MFOA has created an infographic to dispel some myths around reserves and reserve funds.
57/4/2022 12:00:00 AMLame Duck (Restrictions after Nomination Day and Voting Day ) As Nomination Day approaches, municipal staff must prepare for the possibility that the powers of council may be restricted as a result of Lame Duck Council. To prepare for this, a delegation of powers by council must be made before August 19. Ensure your report and bylaw is approved by council well in advance to reduce the impact of potential limited restrictions.

The legislation has not changed and it can be found in Section 275 of the Municipal Act. There are four restricted acts:
  1. The appointment or removal from office of any officer of the municipality;
  2. The hiring or dismissal of any employee of the municipality;
  3. The disposition of any real or personal property of the municipality, which has a value exceeding $50,000 at the time of disposal; and
  4. Making any expenditure or incurring any other liability which exceeds $50,000.
**Exceptions: The disposition of property and the disposition or liability exceeding $50,000 does not apply if these items were included in the budget adopted prior to nomination day.

Note: Section 275 (4.1) states that despite these restrictions, nothing prevents a municipality from acting in the event of an emergency.

What is a Lame Duck Council?
A council is considered Lame Duck if it will include less than three quarters of the members of the outgoing council. This could be determined after Nomination Day on August 19, 2022, or after Voting Day on October 24, 2022.

First time period: Nomination Day
  • If less than 75% of the incumbent council are running for re-election or acclaimed following Nomination Day
Second time period: Election Day to end of council term
  • If less than 75% of the old council are re-elected or acclaimed
The three quarter rule applies. Some examples: 39 Municipal Elections Basics For New Clerks 5 Member Council • ¾ of a 5- member council is 4 7 Member Council • ¾ of a 7- member council is 6 9 Member Council • ¾ of a 9- member council is 7
If your new council will have a different number of councillors than your old council, please refer to Section 275 (1) of the Municipal Act.

When does the period of a Lame Duck Council end?
The period of a Lame Duck Council ends when the term of a new council commences.
46/6/2022 12:00:00 AMAdjusting Your Budget Schedule in an Election Year Many municipalities begin their budget process in the fall. Some even pass their budgets prior to the Christmas break. As a reminder, the Municipal Act, 2001, clearly states that budgets for the year following an election must be passed in the year to which it pertains. Please see s.290(1.1) for details.
35/1/2022 12:00:00 AMFinancial Statement and Plain Language DO belong in the Same Sentence Municipal finance is a complex topic and Councils are often confused by financial statements. Check out this common language guide to help your Council understand your financial statements.
24/4/2022 12:00:00 AMPotential Budget Impacts Reporting Are you aware that you must prepare a report for council as to potential budget impacts if you do not include items such as amortization expenses, post-employment benefit expenses and solid waste landfill closure and post-closure expenses? This requirement is set out in O.Reg. 284/09. A tip sheet to help guide you in the preparation of this annual report is available on our website.
13/7/2022 12:00:00 AMHave You Got a Budget Surplus or Deficit? Did you know that ss.290(4) paragraphs b&c of the Municipal Act, 2001 requires municipalities to account for any cash or budget surplus or deficit in their next annual budget? This can often cause swings in tax levy requirements from one year to the next. Many municipalities include instructions to allocate a cash or budget surplus or deficit to one or more reserves in their reserve policies to avoid negative impacts to budgets.
 
 

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