19-03 – Rural Police Costing Model 2019

With the approval and proclamation of Bill 22, the Province has changed the funding criteria for policing in the Province of Alberta. Currently, municipalities with a population over 5,000 must either pay for their own municipal police force or enter into an agreement with the RCMP. Municipalities with a population under 5,000 and rural municipalities are not required to pay for this service.

As of April 1, 2020, all communities below 5000 and all rural municipalities will now be required to contribute toward the cost of front-line policing in those municipalities.  Under the current Provincial Police Service Agreement, the Province pays 70% of this cost with the balance being covered by the Federal Government. Based on the 2018/19 provincial year, the cost of this service was $232.5 million.

Please click on the attachment for all the details.

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19-02 – PS3280 Asset Retirement Obligations 2019

In August 2018, the Public Sector Accounting Board issued the new PS 3280 Asset Retirement Obligations accounting standard requiring public sector entities to recognize a liability for legally-enforceable asset retirement obligation. While this standard will have a significant impact on all levels of government, municipalities may be amongst the most effected due to their wide scope of operations. Getting a start on implementation now is critical for a successful implementation. The standard is effective for fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2021. For local governments with a calendar year-end, fiscal 2022 will be the first year that the standard applies unless they choose early adoption. Please click on the attachment for complete details.

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19-01 – Year End Audit Issues

The Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) has issued a number of standards that were effective April 1, 2017 for years ended March 31, 2018. Entities with December 31 year ends will be applying them for the first time for the year ended December 31, 2018. Click on the attachment for complete details.

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18-02 – Council Remuneration Income Tax Treatment

In 2017 the Federal government announced that the Income Tax treatment of elected officers will change effective January 1, 2019.

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18-01 – PS 3280 Asset Retirement Obligations posted on March 1, 2018

PS 3280 is on the horizon and you should take this time to be proactive. While this standard does not apply until years beginning on or after April 1, 2021, it will have a significant impact on many municipalities and thus preparations for implementation should start long before the adoption date.

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17-01 – Email Fraud

Municipal administration should be aware of various business e-mail scams that are happening all around us. Many of these scams involve wire transfer fraud and are done through executive impersonation where an imposter pretends to be a senior executive requesting a payment for an urgent business transaction. Adequate internal controls and awareness can go a long way to prevent fraudulent requests from proceeding and the imposter from profiting. Below is some helpful information to protect your municipality from falling victim to such a scam.For the Things You Need to Know about Common Fraud Schemes and Ways to Mitigate Your Risks, please click on the attachment.

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16-04 – Asset Management

Alberta municipalities rely on tangible capital assets (TCAs) including roads, parks, recreation centres, fire halls, libraries, graders, transit buses, and water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver services to residents. Alberta municipalities have made substantial financial investments in acquiring TCAs and require significant annual resources to maintain, rehabilitate and replace TCAs. To optimize the life cycle management of TCAs, asset management processes provide the foundation for and assist in “making informed decisions to achieve the goal of delivering sustainable services, managing risks and getting value for money”.
For the Commentary and a link to view the handbook and toolkit Alberta Municipal Affairs has developed with municipalities in mind around Asset Management, please click on the attachment.

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16-03 – Federal Government 2016 Budget Announcement

The Federal Government announced highlights of Budget 2016 on March 22, 2016.

For the Commentary and a link to view the complete budget, please click on the attachment.

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16-02 – Property Tax Bylaw

Alberta municipalities rely on property taxes to provide services, make infrastructure improvements and meet financial obligations. To meet its budget requirements, it is important the proper authority is provided to levy and collect property taxes. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides that a council must pass a property tax bylaw to provide this authority.
For the Commentary and sample bylaw, please click on the attachment.

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16-01 – Tax Recovery Process

Alberta municipalities rely on property taxes to provide services, make infrastructure improvements and meet financial obligations. It is, therefore, important that all property taxes are collected. The Government of Alberta (GOA) has passed legislation to ensure the municipality can collect the taxes that are due. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) gives the municipality the authority to enforce payment of legally levied taxes [reference Part 10]. The tax recovery process is an important means through which a municipality maintains its fiscal health by collecting taxes due it.

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15-04 – MGA Amendments (Posted on July 7, 2015)

Bill 20 approved in April of 2015 by the Provincial Government includes a number of changes to Municipal Government Act. Bill 20 is the first two planned amendments to the Municipal Government with the second due near the end of 2015. The focus of this document is to review those changes with finance and accounting implications. More details are expected as supporting regulations are approved. A number of changes have been approved to the Municipal Government Act that will have a direct impact on municipal finance departments.

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15-03 – Financial Resiliency (Posted on July 6, 2015)

GFOA International is currently focusing on the Financially Resilient Government and there are good lessons to be learned on how municipalities can build this resiliency into their organizations.

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15-01 – 2015 Provincial Budget tabled on March 26, 2015

The Alberta Government tabled the 2015 provincial budget on March 26, 2015.

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14-05 – A “LEAN” Example (posted on April 20, 2015)

In 2014 the GFOA published a White Paper called “A Guide to Starting the Lean Journey.” This was followed by other published material and presentations. This research provides a practical example of one business unit in Strathcona County that has implemented and are currently working on embedding the “LEAN” culture in their business.

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14-04 – PS 3260 Liability for Contaminated Sites posted on March 13, 2015

PS 3260 “Liability for Contaminated Sites” was introduced by the Public Sector Accounting Board in 2010 and has an effective date for fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2014. The section provides guidance on applying the existing definition of a liability in the CICA Public Sector Accounting Handbook to the specific area of contaminated sites. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide additional resources to municipalities and government entities reporting under PSAS that are responsible for contaminated sites.

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14-03 – Year End Audit Issues posted on March 13, 2015

As the province of Alberta continues to experience economic changes, it is increasingly clear that local governments must re-evaluate their fiscal plans in order to meet these changing demands. Several issues that have immersed requiring additional attention by local governments include provincial grant funding, tangible capital assets, contaminated sites, and budgeting. These matters are significant because they represent meaningful parts of a government body’s financial statements having fiscal consequences that directly impact decisions about upcoming strategic plans. The following memorandum will provide a brief overview of the noted potential issues and highlight areas that may warrant further consideration for each municipality.

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14-02 – Pension Reform Bills Killed

Premier Jim Prentice has prorogued the fall legislative session by two weeks to allow time for by-elections and a new throne speech. The prorogation brings to an end all business and legislation on the Order Paper before the Legislative Assembly.

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13-02 – PS3510 Revenue Recognition for Local Improvements

The Public Sector Accounting Board approved PS3510 Tax Revenue effective Fiscal 2013. There have been questions on how this relates to the handling of Local Improvement Taxes.

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13-01 – PS3260 Liability for Contaminated Sites

The standard will be effective for years beginning on or after April 1, 2014, however early adoption is encouraged as comparatives are required – the clock is ticking! Its complexity requires municipalities to begin considering the impact as soon as possible.
Many of us remembers the pain implementing PS3150 – Tangible Capital Assets. Most pain was felt by those who started the process late. Implementing PS3260 need not be a similar experience, but we must plan ahead to avoid last minute stress.

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