A Glance at your Local 2017 Municipal Finances- Managing your taxpayer dollars carefully

municipalities

Attendance at the R.M. of Alexander’s Municipal 2018 Financial Plan Hearing was down to one ratepayer this year and not much better in other municipal jurisdictions. Rarely do any drastic changes occur to their proposed budgets but sometimes projects get delayed and/or get cancelled all together. We did recommend last year that ratepayers go on-line and look at the financial plans and the audited financial statements to see where their tax dollars are being spent. You can also pick up a copy at your municipal office when you go in to pay your taxes or at least ask to look at them. So again this year we have produced a snapshot of those numbers for our readers to peruse through. This year four municipalities have their 2017 audited financial statements, up one from last year and all prepared by the Exchange Group. One is still working with auditors for the completion of their 2015 Financial Statements and remains confident that the 2016 & 2017 will follow quickly. With the new PSAB requirements municipalities have to report tangible capital assets as assets (versus expenses) on financial statements and must show how much they have amortized (or decreased) in value since construction or acquisition

Typically, there are two types of budgets: the operating budget (delivery of services) and the capital budget (planned expenditures on long-term purchases and big investments). Below is a compiled list of the consolidated statement of operations for municipalities listing the revenues and expenses raised by your tax dollars to pay the bills and not the monies allocated to reserve funds after the fact.

stastement operations

Salaries for municipal leaders in the Lake Winnipeg River Region still continue to vary widely as do their budgets and surpluses. Are elected officials properly compensated for all the work that they do- You be the judge.

Elected officials only have to declare 2/3rds of their indemnity as income. Compensations do vary in this region and also can depend on many scenarios including the municipality’s ability to pay which is determined by their assessment which in turn is fuelled by growth.

Attendance at the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) Conference can be costly and is considered a perk by many councillors. By now seasoned councillors should have a handle on what it means to be a councillor and whether or not they will be running again. In the R.M of Alexander there are many candidates looking at running for office and they have been busy collecting signatures. Others have already started campaigning and have information available for ratepayers. We will be updating those lists on our Winnipeg River Advocate Facebook Page as prospective candidates pick up their nomination papers.

2017 Indemnities and Expenses

Municipal Indemnities and Budgets for august 31st issue-2

With fall elections of 2018 almost here how do you feel about your leaders who have been on the job since 2014? Most are 55+ retirees with the exception of a few. Nobody is out of pocket while sitting around the council table and some may benefit more than others. Have we figured out yet how to get young people involved? Do we engage and encourage the bright young minds in our communities to participate in the important processes that are ultimately determining their future as well as the future of their children? Is it the 4 year time commitment? Or is it the time of day that council gathers for meetings which is usually during the working day for most councils in the region? That could be changed if there is a willingness to accommodate our new leaders. We would like to think that people run for office because they want to contribute and make a difference within their town or municipality.

Without growth some municipalities continue to struggle and when houses continue to sell below their assessed values the future looks bleak. Maybe this time around both the R.M. of Alexander and the Town of Powerview-Pine Falls newly elected councils can work together to find a long-term solution to turn the tide here, so to speak. Tourist destinations can be found throughout Canada and Manitoba. People usually like to visit for various reasons and quite often will visit a community that they might want to live in. It is up to our new leaders to make that possibility happen here!