Municipal Relations

Frequently Asked Questions

General:

  1. What are the requirements for the integration of municipalities?
  2. When do integration requirements have to be completed?

Administration:

  1. A new Local Urban District (LUD) is being formed in the new amalgamated municipality. When do LUD committees take office?
  2. A non-functioning Local Urban District (LUD) is being dissolved. When does the term of office for the existing LUD Committee end?
  3. Can the new Council of the new, amalgamated municipality finalize (ie give third reading) to a by-law initiated by a former municipality prior to amalgamation?
  4. Is the new, amalgamated municipality responsible for retaining and archiving records of the former municipalities after amalgamation?

Human Resources:

  1. What can CAOs do before January 1, 2015 to plan for how the new municipality will be staffed?
  2. Does the salary, vacation time, sick time and seniority of employees of the former municipalities continue after amalgamation?
  3. What happens when one amalgamating municipality is unionized and the other is not? What happens when amalgamating municipalities have different unions?

Accounting and Finance:

  1. Why is it important for amalgamating municipalities to complete their previous years' financial statements?
  2. Our new, amalgamated municipality will be using differential mill rates in the former municipalities on a transitional basis. To accommodate this, can we prepare a separate 2015 financial plan for each of the former municipalities?
  3. Should amalgamated municipalities open a new bank account or should they continue to use existing bank accounts?

Assessment:

  1. When will 2015 Boards of Revision be held and who will sit on the Board?
  2. Will property assessments change as a result of amalgamation?
  3. Will the new, amalgamated municipality get a combined tax roll for budget purposes in 2015?
  4. When will the new, amalgamated municipality get its combined assessment roll?
  5. What "number" will be given to the new amalgamated municipality?
  6. What will be done if amalgamating municipalities have duplicate roll numbers?
  7. Will property owned by former municipalities continue to be exempt after amalgamation?
  8. Do amalgamating municipalities have to register a change of name on titles of municipally-owned property with the Land Titles Office?

Planning Requirements:

  1. If amalgamation will result in significant realignment of planning district boundaries in our area, should decisions on new boundaries be made by the current councils, or should it be left for the new amalgamated councils?
  2. If the current council(s) decide to realign planning district boundaries in 2014 prior to the municipal elections, can the application request that the actual change in membership and boundaries take effect on a specific date?
  3. What happens to planning districts when member municipalities amalgamate? What if a member municipality amalgamates with a municipality outside the planning district?
  4. My municipality is not amalgamating but all other members of our planning district are amalgamating with municipalities outside the district. What happens to the planning district?
  5. My municipality is amalgamating with a municipality outside our planning district. The district board would like our amalgamation partner to join the planning district. How do we add a member to our planning district?
  6. What considerations are there for our planning district if there is an internal amalgamation amongst two member municipalities?
  7. Our municipality is amalgamating with a municipality outside our planning district which will remove us from the planning district. Who assumes responsibility for functions that the planning district currently provides in our municipality, such as inspections and permitting, when the amalgamation takes effect?
  8. Will the Province assist amalgamating municipalities in forming new planning districts or in realigning planning district boundaries to reflect municipal amalgamations?
  9. What happens to our development plan and zoning by-law if we amalgamate with another municipality?

General

1. What are the requirements for the integration of municipalities?
 
Integration requirements will vary amongst amalgamating municipalities depending on local circumstances and how harmonized the municipalities are currently. The more integrated municipalities are now, the easier it will be. For example, integration requirements are likely to be fewer and less complex for amalgamating municipalities that already share a CAO and a municipal office than for amalgamating municipalities with different CAOs and different offices.
 
Generally, amalgamation involves the integration of municipalities in four main areas:
 
  • Administration
  • Accounting and finance
  • Human resources
  • Planning and development.
 
Manitoba Municipal Government, in consultation with the AMM, the MMAA and municipalities, has developed Checklists that identify the major tasks that need to be completed in each of these areas.

2. When do integration requirements have to be completed?
 
Not all integration requirements have to be completed at once. The Checklists provide timing for when tasks should be completed. While some tasks can be completed before January 1, 2015, others can be completed after January 1, 2015, up to a year, or even longer, after the new municipality is functioning.
 
The Checklists will help CAOs to develop an implementation plan and prioritize the tasks that need to be completed first.

Administration

1. A new Local Urban District (LUD) is being formed in the new amalgamated municipality. When do LUD committees take office?
 
Some amalgamated municipalities are forming new Local Urban Districts to recognize different service levels between urban and rural areas. New LUDs will come into effect on January 1, 2015, at the same time as the new, amalgamated municipality.
 
LUD Committee members will be elected at the October 22, 2014 general election, at the same time as the new municipal council. For new LUDs created in amalgamated municipalities, LUD committee members will take office on January 1, 2015, when the LUD is officially formed and the new municipality begins to function.
 
For existing LUDs in amalgamated municipalities, committee members will take office at noon on October 23, 2014.

2. A non-functioning Local Urban District (LUD) is being dissolved. When does the term of office for the existing LUD Committee end?
 
As part of the amalgamation, some non-functioning LUDs are being dissolved where the LUD is very small or LUD services are minimal. These LUDs are officially dissolved as of October 22, 2014. The term of office of LUD Committee members ends at noon on October 23, 2014.

3. Can the new Council of the new, amalgamated municipality finalize (ie give third reading) to a by-law initiated by a former municipality prior to amalgamation?
 
Councils of new, amalgamated municipalities should only pass by-laws that they initiate.
 
Citizen participation and input is critical to the by-law making process. By-laws passed by the new Council will apply to all citizens of the new, amalgamated municipality. It is important therefore that all citizens of the new, amalgamated municipality have opportunities to participate and make their views known to the new Council.
 
Municipalities with by-laws currently in progress should plan to have them completed prior to the October 22, 2014 general election.

4. Is the new, amalgamated municipality responsible for retaining and archiving records of the former municipalities after amalgamation?
 
New, amalgamated municipalities will be required to maintain records for the former municipalities in accordance with the requirements set out in the Retention and Disposition of Municipal Records Regulation under The Municipal Act.
 
Ensuring that municipal records are complete, accurate and safe is an important responsibility of all municipalities. As well, records of the former municipalities will be needed to develop programs and services for the new municipality. Municipal officials will be working with these records often in the first few years after amalgamation, so it is important that records for the former municipalities are organized and accessible.

Human Resources

1. What can CAOs do before January 1, 2015 to plan for how the new municipality will be staffed?
 
All employees of the former municipalities will become employees of the new municipality on January 1, 2015.
CAOs of amalgamating municipalities can begin planning how the new municipality will be staffed before January 1, 2015. CAOs can begin by developing a list of all employees, together with employees' current positions and responsibilities. CAOs can also draft a temporary organizational chart, for consideration by the new council at the first council meeting.
 
It is preferable to make final decisions about staffing of the new municipality after the new municipality has functioned for a period of time, generally within the first year of operation. After this time, the Council and the new CAO can better assess the staffing needs of the new municipality, while taking into account fairness for employees.

2. Does the salary, vacation time, sick time and seniority of employees of the former municipalities continue after amalgamation?
 
Yes. All employees of amalgamating municipalities will become employees of the new, amalgamated municipality on January 1, 2015. Existing salary, vacation time, sick time and seniority will continue. Existing union agreements are also continued.

3. What happens when one amalgamating municipality is unionized and the other is not? What happens when amalgamating municipalities have different unions?
 
The Labour Relations Act describes the rights and obligations of employers and employees when an amalgamation occurs. The new, amalgamated municipality assumes the role of the former employer (i.e., the former municipality).
Existing unions retain their bargaining rights and the new, amalgamated municipality "inherits" all obligations of the former municipality. Any existing collective agreements remain in effect until new agreements are negotiated or ratified.
 
In cases where employees of one amalgamating municipality are represented by a union and employees of the other amalgamating municipality are not, the union can apply to the Labour Board to include the non-unionized employees. The Labour Board typically makes its decision based on a vote of all employees.
 
In cases where employees of amalgamating municipalities are represented by two different unions, one union (or both unions jointly) may apply to the Labour Board to ask the Board to decide which union will represent employees.

Accounting and Finance

1. Why is it important for amalgamating municipalities to complete their previous years' financial statements?
 
An audited financial statement outlines the financial position of the municipality and is a legislated requirement. A priority for CAOs now, prior to amalgamation, is to work with their auditors to ensure that all audited financial statements are completed. The 2013 audited financial statement must be submitted by the auditor by June 30, 2014.
 
The 2014 audited financial statement is necessary in order to prepare the 2015 audited financial statement of the new, amalgamated municipality. The 2014 audited statements of each amalgamating municipality is needed to establish the opening balances of the new municipality. As well, the combined 2014 audited financial statements of each amalgamating municipality are required for the comparative presentation of the 2015 financial statement, as required under PSAB rules.

2. Our new, amalgamated municipality will be using differential mill rates in the former municipalities on a transitional basis. To accommodate this, can we prepare a separate 2015 financial plan for each of the former municipalities?
 
A financial plan must be adopted for the whole of the new municipality.
 
Manitoba Municipal Government will be developing a modified financial plan template to assist municipalities using differential mill rates. The modified financial plan template will be provided to municipalities in advance of when they will prepare their 2015 financial plan.

3. Should amalgamated municipalities open a new bank account or should they continue to use existing bank accounts?
 
Amalgamated municipalities can open a new bank account or can continue to use existing bank accounts; it depends on what will work best for the new municipality.
 
However, because amalgamated municipalities will have outstanding 2014 accounts payable and receivable for the former municipalities, it may be easiest to keep both accounts open, at least until completion of the 2014 year-end.
Once the 2014 year-end is completed, CAOs can determine if they would like to use one of the existing bank accounts or open a new account. Remaining funds would be transferred as required.
 
It is recommended that the new Council appoint signing authorities for bank accounts within the first two weeks of January, 2015. Signing authority documentation also needs to be provided to the bank(s) as required.

Assessment

1. When will 2015 Boards of Revision be held and who will sit on the Board?
 
Every council must hold a Board of Revision each year in the Fall. In Fall 2014, Boards of Revision will sit to hear 2015 assessment appeals.
 
Existing Councils' terms of office are extended until December 31, 2014. As a result, existing Councils will determine when the 2015 Boards of Revision are held. Existing Councils will also determine Board of Revision members.

2. Will property assessments change as a result of amalgamation?
 
Property assessments are based on the market value of property, as of a point in time under The Municipal Assessment Act. The market value of a property is influenced by many factors, including location, size, condition, etc. This won't change as a result of amalgamation.

3. Will the new, amalgamated municipality get a combined tax roll for budget purposes in 2015?
 
In January 2015, Manitoba Municipal Government will provide the new, amalgamated municipality with a "combined" tax roll, as well as a "combined" 2015 budget recap for 2015 budget purposes.
 
The Department will provide amalgamating municipalities a draft budget recap in 2014 for review and comment.

4. When will the new, amalgamated municipality get its combined assessment roll?
 
The new, amalgamated municipality will get a "combined" 2016 preliminary assessment roll in Spring 2015.

5. What "number" will be given to the new amalgamated municipality?
 
All municipalities are assigned an identifier number that is used in assessment and tax systems.
 
Each new, amalgamated municipality will take the number of the former municipality that has the most roll entries. This reflects the practice of previous amalgamations and minimizes the administrative effort to change assessment and tax systems.
 
New identifier numbers will start being used January 1, 2015 on all downloads and reports provided to amalgamated municipalities by Manitoba Municipal Government.

6. What will be done if amalgamating municipalities have duplicate roll numbers?
 
All properties in a municipality must have a unique roll number. This will continue after amalgamation.
 
The numbers used by the former municipality with the most rolls will be retained and used by the new amalgamated municipality. This reflects the practice of existing amalgamations and minimizes the administrative effort to change assessment and tax systems.
 
The roll numbers used in the other municipalities will be changed to ensure they continue to be unique. Wherever possible, renumbered rolls will be in the same order as they are currently.
 
Manitoba Municipal Government will provide amalgamating municipalities proposed new numbering mid-2014 for review and comment. Re-numbering will be finalized in 2014 so that amalgamating municipalities can update their software and accounts in a timely fashion.
 
Historic information for roll entries will continue to be available and won't be affected by re-numbering.

7. Will property owned by former municipalities continue to be exempt after amalgamation?
 
Yes. All property owned by a municipality is exempt from taxation, under The Municipal Assessment Act. This won't change with amalgamation. All municipal assets, including property, transfer to the new, amalgamated municipality. After amalgamation, the property will be owned by the new, amalgamated municipally and will therefore be exempt from taxation. The exemption applies even though the former municipality's name is still on the property title.

8. Do amalgamating municipalities have to register a change of name on titles of municipally-owned property with the Land Titles Office?
 
The name on property titles can remain in the name of the former municipality and does not have to be changed as a result of amalgamation.
 
Land Titles Office recommends that municipalities change it at some point just so records are up to date. The cost is $80.00 per application, and each application can include up to 20 titles.

Planning Requirements

1. If amalgamation will result in significant realignment of planning district boundaries in our area, should decisions on new boundaries be made by the current councils, or should it be left for the new amalgamated councils?
 
This decision depends largely on local circumstances. Current councils can realign planning district boundaries in 2014 to avoid having municipalities removed from planning districts when the amalgamations take effect in 2015.
Alternatively, municipalities could wait for new councils to determine which existing district the amalgamated municipality should join, or with which neighbouring municipalities it can establish a new planning district.

2. If the current council(s) decide to realign planning district boundaries in 2014 prior to the municipal elections, can the application request that the actual change in membership and boundaries take effect on a specific date?
 
Yes. The application to change planning district boundaries could request that the realignment come into effect as soon as possible, or be delayed until January 1, 2015 - the date when the municipal amalgamations take effect.

3. What happens to planning districts when member municipalities amalgamate? What if a member municipality amalgamates with a municipality outside the planning district?
 
If all municipalities within the planning district amalgamate, the planning district would dissolve.
If a municipality amalgamates with a municipality outside of their planning district the municipality is removed from their planning district once the amalgamation takes effect. If two municipalities that are members of two different planning districts amalgamate both municipalities are removed from their respective planning districts.

4. My municipality is not amalgamating but all other members of our planning district are amalgamating with municipalities outside the district. What happens to the planning district?
 
Planning districts must have at least two municipal members to continue operating after amalgamation. If all other member municipalities are removed from the district because they are amalgamating with municipalities outside the district, the planning district effectively dissolves.

5. My municipality is amalgamating with a municipality outside our planning district. The district board would like our amalgamation partner to join the planning district. How do we add a member to our planning district?
 
The process to expand a planning district is very straightforward. Application is made to the Minister of Municipal Government (care of the Community and Regional Planning Branch) and requires:
 
  • a resolution of support from the council wishing to join the planning district;
  • a resolution of support from the planning district board; and
  • evidence that a public meeting was held on the planning district expansion.
 
If the joining municipality is currently a member of another planning district, the application also requires evidence that a public meeting was held in regards to having the municipality leave that district. The public meetings to leave one planning district and join another can be held concurrently.

6. What considerations are there for our planning district if there is an internal amalgamation amongst two member municipalities?
 
The planning district's organizational and procedural by-laws will likely need to be updated to reflect the internal amalgamation. The district may also need to review board membership ratios and municipal contribution levels.

7. Our municipality is amalgamating with a municipality outside our planning district which will remove us from the planning district. Who assumes responsibility for functions that the planning district currently provides in our municipality, such as inspections and permitting, when the amalgamation takes effect?
 
If a municipality is removed from a planning district because of amalgamation, the newly amalgamated municipal council assumes the role in hearing all planning-related applications formerly heard by the planning district board until it joins another planning district.
 
The municipality also assumes any permitting and inspection functions that might have previously been performed by the district. If the municipality does not have staff expertise in this area, interim solutions could involve:
 
  • contracting services from an adjacent municipality or planning district, or,
  • retaining a freelance building inspector on an as needed basis.

8. Will the Province assist amalgamating municipalities in forming new planning districts or in realigning planning district boundaries to reflect municipal amalgamations?
 
Yes. The Community and Regional Planning Branch is available to assist any affected municipality or planning district in the months leading up to the January 1, 2015 amalgamations as well as post amalgamation.
 
Please contact your local Community and Regional Planning office with any questions or to assist in the process of expanding or realigning your planning district boundaries.

9. What happens to our development plan and zoning by-law if we amalgamate with another municipality?
 
Planning by-laws apply to a specified area of land (or "run with the land"). Existing development plans and zoning by-laws remain in effect following the amalgamation of two or more municipalities.
 
The newly amalgamated municipality will administer any existing planning by-laws until a new development plan and zoning by-law are adopted. The timeframe for adopting new planning by-laws will follow regular plan review cycles, or as determined by the amalgamated council or newly formed planning district board.