Financial Plans and Tax Bylaws
Financial budgeting is a planning tool that enhances local government accountability and service delivery and sets out their legal expenditure authority. The legislation establishes requirements and deadlines for the adoption of financial plans, and a local government may amend its plan during the year for unexpected expenditures.
Local governments must annually adopt a financial plan in accordance with the Local Government Act and the Community Charter. The planning period for the financial plan must include the current fiscal year and the next four fiscal years (a five-year plan). At a minimum, the plan must include:
- Proposed expenditures (operating, capital, interest and principal payment on debt), funding sources (for example, taxes, fees, grants, new borrowing and debenture debt), and transfers to and from reserve funds and surplus
- Objectives and policies for the fiscal year regarding the distribution of funding sources, the distribution of property taxes amongst various property classes, and the use of any permissive tax exemptions
A local government must not budget for a deficit (planned expenditures and transfers to funds cannot exceed planned revenues, transfers from funds, and other cash contributions). However, if actual expenditures and net transfers from the previous year exceed that year's revenues and contributions, the resulting deficiency must be carried forward to the current year's financial plan as an expenditure.
Municipalities must adopt their financial plans before they adopt their annual tax rate bylaws (which must be adopted before May 15 each year). Regional districts must show their accounting for each service separately and must adopt their financial plans by March 31 of each year. The earlier date for regional districts is to provide them time to prepare their annual tax requisitions for their member municipalities and the Provincial Surveyor of Taxes.
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