Councillor Adams appointed chair of 2018 Budget Committee

Town plans for continued inflation level tax increases

At the inaugural 2018 Budget Committee meeting on June 26, 2017, Councillor Tom Adams was appointed as Oakville’s budget chair for the tenth consecutive year. Councillor Adams holds his Master’s in Business Administration from McMaster University and is a former senior risk manager to one of Canada’s major financial institutions.

Oakville is committed to offering valued services and programs to residents and making strategic investments in community priorities. Each year the town’s budget is one of the most important tasks facing Town Council, who have directed staff to prepare a budget that keeps the overall tax increase in line with inflation. The target for 2018 has been set at an overall property tax increase of 1.8 per cent, including the town, Regional and educational shares of the property tax bill.

Key budget pressures outlined by Nancy Sully, deputy treasurer and director, Financial Planning, include $1.4 million to implement the increased minimum wage announced recently by the Province, and $1.3 million in costs related to growth in the town including the operation of new transit vehicles, the cost to maintain new parks and roads, as well as costs associated with operating the new Trafalgar Park Community Centre (redeveloped Oakville Arena) and a proposed library.

The town will be looking at transforming the way services are delivered in order to respond to budget pressures in 2019 and 2020 relating to Trafalgar Park and the opening of the Southeast Community Centre (on the former hospital lands), a new fire station in Palermo, as well as other funding needs. Council has directed staff to keep overall property tax increases in line with inflation in both 2019 and 2020.

“The town is at the point where we must move beyond simple cost containment measures to keep tax increases at the rate of inflation in future years,” said CAO Ray Green. “Council, staff and the community will need to work together to set priorities, and look for opportunities to transform the way we deliver services.”

Green recommended a comprehensive reshaping of the organization that will enable the town to meet the overall budget target set by Council and create a longer-term vision for the financial sustainability of town operations.

“Oakville is recognized as having the healthiest finances in Ontario, and keeping those finances strong and secure is a key part of Council’s vision to make Oakville the most livable town in Canada,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Staff have made us aware of potential pressures on the horizon, and recommended we take proactive steps to address them. We are confident that taking early action will help assure the long-term health of Oakville’s finances.”

Staff noted that the 2018 budget documents would be released on November 21, 2017. Staff will present the Budget Committee with an overview of the proposed 2018 operating and capital budgets, including opportunities for potential savings or increased revenues. The Budget Committee will hear input from pubic delegations before making a recommendation on December 12, 2017 to Council. Final Council approval of the operating and capital budgets is scheduled for December 18, 2017.

“Our key focus for this budget is to meet our goal of keeping overall property tax increases in line with inflation, while building and renewing infrastructure and maintaining high quality services for the community,” Councillor Adams said. “Public input is a critical piece of our annual budget process and I look forward to engaging with residents over the next few months.”

For more information, access the staff report included in the June 26, 2017 Budget Committee meeting agenda or visit the 2018 Budget page.


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artsVest™ brings year-long training and $35,000 in matching funds to Oakville’s arts and culture community

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – for immediate release

artsVest™ brings year-long training and $35,000 in matching funds to Oakville’s arts and culture community

Information session for arts and culture groups takes place February 15, 2017

artsVest, a matching incentive and sponsorship training program designed to create partnerships between businesses and arts and culture groups, is coming to Oakville.

The program is offered by Business for the Arts, a national charitable organization that strengthens arts and culture in Canada by building partnerships between the private and cultural sectors. With funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Government of Canada, $35,000 in matching funds will be delivered to local arts organizations.

The Town of Oakville will help administer the program, and provide meeting space for an information session and sponsorship workshop on February 15 from 1-5 p.m. at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Culture Centre. The workshop will be immediately followed by a reception to celebrate the launch of the program.

“Council believes in building bridges and helping establish relationships between various communities and organizations in Oakville,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “By encouraging partnerships between businesses and cultural organizations, the artsVest program helps to foster creativity and culture for everyone to enjoy.”

artsVest works directly with small to mid-sized arts organizations, equipping them with in-depth training, tools and mentorship relationships with private sector businesses. As an added incentive, artsVest participants can apply for matching grants. For every dollar raised in sponsorship, Business for the Arts will match it – doubling their sponsorship opportunity.

“Business for the Arts is thrilled to be bringing the artsVest program to Oakville,” says Aida Aydinyan, vice president of Business for the Arts. “The generous funding and support from the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Government of Canada and the Town of Oakville speaks volumes to the importance and power of building relationships between the sectors. We look forward to seeing the incredible impact these arts organizations and businesses will have in the town over the next year.”

Arts and culture groups can learn more about the program and apply to participate on the artsVest page.


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artsVest™ brings year-long training and $35,000 in matching funds to Oakville’s arts and culture community

Town Council calls on Province to ban door-to-door sales activities

Monday, July 11, 2016 – for immediate release

Town Council calls on Province to ban door-to-door sales activities

Council passed a motion on June 27, 2016, calling on the Province of Ontario to place a ban on door-to-door sales in the home services sector. The motion specifically urges the provincial government to ban the sale or lease of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, water heaters, water treatment and filtration systems, and other related home energy products and services by door-to-door sales agents.

The motion, brought forward by Mayor Rob Burton, also encourages other GTA municipalities to join Oakville in calling on the Province to act on this issue.

“Despite efforts from the provincial government to curb misleading and aggressive sales tactics at the door, Oakville homeowners still experience it far too regularly,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Calling on the Province to ban door-to-door sales in the home services sector is the right thing to do for residents in Oakville and all municipalities.”

It is important for residents to learn about their rights when it comes to door-to-door sales tactics. Before you hear a sales pitch at your door, remember to:

ask for photo ID and get the name of the person and the business
never share personal information (for example, an electricity or gas bill)
call the police if you feel unsafe. If you ask a salesperson to leave, they must leave right away.
look at the company name on the salesperson’s business card and promotional material and see if it matches the company name on the proposed contract
never rely on a salesperson’s opinion that your water heater is unsafe or should be replaced
never sign a contract at that time

Also remember that local utility companies, municipalities, government agencies and regulatory organizations do not send salespeople door-to-door.

Review these tips and more by visiting the Government of Ontario website.


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Town Council calls on Province to ban door-to-door sales activities

Councillor Adams appointed chair of 2017 Budget Committee

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 – for immediate release

Councillor Adams appointed chair of 2017 Budget Committee

At the inaugural 2017 Budget Committee meeting on June 27, 2016, Councillor Tom Adams was appointed for a ninth consecutive year as Oakville’s budget chair. Councillor Adams holds his Master’s in Business Administration from McMaster University and is a former senior risk manager to one of Canada’s major financial institutions.

Oakville is committed to offering valued services and programs to residents and making strategic investments in community priorities. Each year the town’s annual budget is one of the most important tasks facing Town Council, and Council has directed staff to prepare a budget that keeps the overall tax increase in line with inflation.

“Keeping our finances stable, secure, and healthy is a key part of our vision to make Oakville the most livable town in Canada,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Councillor Adams has a fantastic track record as budget chair and I am confident that his experience will help us once again meet our goal of keeping tax increases in line with inflation.”

As its first order of business, the Budget Committee received details of the 2017 process, which includes four meetings scheduled for November to provide an overview of the budget, staff presentations, and to receive delegations from the public and key stakeholders. The final staff recommended budget will be presented to Council on November 15, 2016, with Budget Committee recommendations finalized on December 6, 2016. Council approval of the operating and capital budgets is set for December 12, 2016.

“Public input is a critical piece of our annual budget process and I look forward to engaging with residents over the next few months,” Councillor Adams said. “Our key focus for this budget is to meet our goal of keeping overall property tax increases in line with inflation, while building and renewing infrastructure and maintaining high quality services for the community.”

For more information, access the staff report included in the June 27, 2016 Budget Committee meeting agenda or visit the 2017 Budget page.


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Councillor Adams appointed chair of 2017 Budget Committee

Residents invited to share their view of Oakville’s harbours

Thursday, April 14, 2016 – for immediate release

Residents invited to share their view of Oakville’s harbours

Community workshops for Harbours Master Plan taking place on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What’s your view of Oakville and Bronte Harbours? Now’s your chance to share your input and help shape the future of the harbours by providing input into the town’s first Harbours Master Plan addressing both harbours under one vision and strategy.

“Oakville’s harbours benefit everyone so it’s important that we hear the perspectives of as many residents, businesses and community groups as possible,” said Chris Mark, director of the Parks and Open Space department. “With help from key stakeholders and the public, our goal is to establish a long-term strategy for harbour development that supports the changing and growing nature of the community.”

Through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process the town retained The Planning Partnership, Shoreplan Engineering and Touristics to develop a Harbours Master Plan focusing on four key objectives:

  1. Providing recommendations on improved access, connectivity, recreational amenities and priorities for both harbours.
  2. Determining the future use of the Bronte Marina Building.
  3. Updating the Oakville Harbours Strategic Business Plan.
  4. Completing Phase Two of the Recreational Boating Feasibility and Capacity Study including investigating potential locations for a new marina.

Members of the public are invited to share their view of the harbours at one of two community workshops on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre (QEPCCC) located at 2302 Bridge Road.

Presentation materials will be available on the town’s website as of May 4, 2016. Anyone unable to attend the workshops are encouraged to share their comments by emailing harboursplan@oakville.ca

For more information, visit the Harbours Master Plan page.


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Residents invited to share their view of Oakville’s harbours

Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) had its EMERGE series in the last quarter of 2015. I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers and talking to Realtors about the digital marketing funnel. With online lead generation becoming ever more sophisticated it’s a really exciting time for Realtors to look at incorporating this into their business model. In today’s environment creativity and a few solid rules of thumb will get you everywhere.

EMERGE was an all around great experience and in addition to sharing my own expertise I learned several things that are key to building an even more successful business in this industry:

  1. NETWORKING

These events are an incredible opportunity to network. Get to know other agents in your area. Better than that, travel to an event thats not in your area and network with potential referral partners. Even make a list ahead of time if you see some speakers you’d want to talk to and make a point of reaching out.

  1. ASK QUESTIONS

What sets apart an event like Emerge from a lot of real estate conferences is the breakout sessions. Being able to speak directly to the experts after hearing them give their presentation is invaluable.

I’ve sat in many conferences where I’ve heard great ideas and had follow up questions I wanted to ask. At EMERGE these questions can be covered in the breakout session in great detail. All the nitty gritty questions you had about your own business you can ask.

  1. ATTENDING IS JUST THE START

Showing up, networking, and asking questions is just the start if you are coming to these events. The part that actually matters is what you do when you go home.

Nothing matters if you don’t implement. That’s what will make a difference in your business and in your life. Just knowing the answer isn’t the same as acting upon it.

Below is my talk from the event. If you want to ask questions about it then just leave them in the comments below!

 

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Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

What is a (real estate) professional?

A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.

~Alistair Cooke, British-born American journalist and broadcaster

Certain talents, qualities, and personal traits are necessary for building a successful real estate career. Successful registrants possess these skills, acquired through education and experience.

One such skill is the ability to act professionally with colleagues, members of the public (particularly clients and customers), and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). Because real estate is a regulated profession, as a member of a regulated profession, you are expected to behave as a professional. But what does it mean to be a ‘professional’?

Being a professional means…

Complying with all relevant legislation and regulations

Your primary duty as a member of a regulated profession is to comply with all relevant legislation and regulations, most notably the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, and Regulations, including the Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics ensures the public interest is protected by detailing obligations owed to members of the public (in particular, buyers and sellers), to colleagues, and to the profession. Failure to comply with the Code (and other applicable legislation) may lead to an act of professional misconduct.

Providing knowledgeable and competent services

Real estate is exciting and dynamic; it is also demanding and complex. Consumers will turn to you for information and advice on one of the most important decisions of their lives – buying or selling a home. You must provide them with conscientious and ethical services and only in those areas in which you are knowledgeable and competent. Always strive for excellence in all aspects of your work.

Following the ‘Golden Rule’

In principle, the rule is quite simple – treat others as you would want to be treated. In other words, treat everyone (i.e., every person you deal with in the course of a trade in real estate) fairly, honestly, and with integrity. Recognize and accept cultural differences.

The ‘Golden Rule’ also applies to colleagues. You must speak respectfully about other salespersons and work collaboratively with them. For example, you must respect the relationship between buyers/sellers and their chosen real estate representatives, and you cannot communicate with them unless they have consented in writing.

Putting client needs first

Your success as a broker/salesperson relies on your ability to gain the trust and respect of clients. You do this by ensuring they understand the services you will be providing, and provide these services to the best of your abilities. You also do this by putting clients’ needs first.

Never persuade or tell your clients what to do or make decisions for them.

Putting your best foot forward

You have only one opportunity to make a good first impression. When meeting with any individual in the course of doing your job, dress appropriately, and be neat and clean in your personal appearance.

 

 

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What is a (real estate) professional?

Brokers of Record: The Buck Stops With Them

American president Harry S. Truman had a desk sign, measuring 2½” x 13”, that read “The buck stops here,” which meant responsibility and accountability ultimately rested with the president. In real estate, the buck stops with the broker of record.

All brokerages in Ontario must designate a broker of record, an individual who, above all, ensures that the brokerage and its employees (brokers, salespeople, other persons) comply with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, and Regulations (collectively known as REBBA 2002), and standards are maintained.

If the brokerage is a sole proprietorship, the sole proprietor must be the broker of record. If the brokerage is a partnership or a corporation, the broker of record is designated by partnership or corporate resolution, respectively. For corporations, the board of directors makes the resolution, and it is signed by the officers with the appropriate signing authority. A copy the resolution must be sent to the RECO registrar.

Partnership and corporation brokerages can also designate an “alternate broker of record” (i.e., another broker as an alternate signing authority to review and sign off on trust and trade transactions when the broker of record is unable to act). Again, this is done via partnership or corporate resolution. The alternate must be approved by the registrar.

Duties of the Broker of Record

•  Ensures the brokerage fully complies with REBBA 2002

•  Actively participates in the management of the brokerage

•  Ensures an adequate level of supervision for brokers, salespeople, and other brokerage employees

•  Takes reasonable steps to address failure to comply with REBBA 2002 by all brokerage employees

•  Reviews and signs monthly trust account reconciliations and trade record sheets

•  Signs brokerage financial statements, as required by the RECO registrar

Duties of the Alternate Signing Authority

The alternate signing authority must review and sign off on the following transactions only during that time when the broker of record is absent or unable to act:

•  trust account transactions

•  monthly trust account reconciliations

•  trade record sheets

 

Reference:

Ontario Real Estate Association and Acronamic Learning Systems Inc. (2015). Real estate broker course. Don Mills, ON: MediaLinx Printing Group.

 

 

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Brokers of Record: The Buck Stops With Them

What’s In A Name?

Client or customer – is there a difference. Absolutely! 

The terms are not interchangeable. Each has been defined within the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, and Regulations (REBBA 2002). The key to remembering the difference rests with the type of agreement the consumer has with the brokerage. A client is represented under a (buyer or seller) representation agreement. A customer is not and is provided services only. As such, the obligations owed to each is different, including the duty of care.

The duty of care owed to customers involves providing accurate information, responding to questions, being honest, and performing specific agreed-upon functions. 

The duty of care owed to clients includes everything you do for that client, and may be outlined in the representation agreement, general, and fiduciary obligations under agency law and regulatory obligations (as set out in REBBA 2002). 

Duties to Clients

In addition to the foregoing duty of care, some of the obligations owed to clients under agency law include the following: 

General Obligations 

1.  Exercise care and skill – have the requisite knowledge and skills; provide complete and accurate information; recommend relevant experts, where applicable 

2.  Negotiate favourable terms – advance the client’s interests by assisting in negotiations; draft favourable terms and conditions for agreements arising from the negotiations 

3.  Maintain confidentiality – maintain confidentiality regarding all matters (e.g., client’s personal information, client’s motivation for buying/selling, the amount to be paid or accepted during negotiations)

4.  Disclose information – disclose information pertinent to the client (e.g., actual or potential conflicts of interest); disclose matters relating to the transaction

5.  Ensure honesty – demonstrate honesty of intent in all dealing

6.  Act in person – perform duties personally, unless otherwise instructed

7.  Obey instructions – obey the client’s instruction, unless it’s not lawful (e.g., the client asks you to create a misleading advertisement regarding the property)

8.  Perform mandate – perform the mandate as set out in the representation agreement; act only within specified authorities; seek clarification if you are uncertain about said authorities

Fiduciary Obligations

1.  Maintain utmost loyalty – the client’s interests come first, best achieved in single representation (i.e., you represent the interest of one party to a transaction)

2.  Avoid conflicts of interest – beware aware of situations that may lead to conflicts of interest, such as representing two or more clients at the same time (multiple representation) acquiring the client’s property selling owned property to the client 

3.  Disclose conflicts – disclose any personal or third-party interests that do or might conflict with the client’s interests; disclose the exact nature and extent of the conflict(s), preferably in writing and signed by the client 

4.  Not make secret profit – do not make a profit at the client’s expense (e.g., providing improper advice, accepting payment from another party without the client’s knowledge and written consent)

5.  Not misuse confidential information – do not use confidential information (e.g., confidential details about the client, the property, and/or the transaction) for your own interests, to harm the client, or to interfere with the client’s endeavours 

 

Reference

Ontario Real Estate Association and Acronamic Learning Systems Inc. (2015). Land, Structures and Real Estate Trading. Don Mills, ON: MediaLinx Printing Group.

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s In A Name?

Things to think about in the new year

I once read that there are 3 kinds of people;

1) Those that make things happen

2) Those that watch things happen

3) And…those that say “what just happened”

 Which one are you?

If you are a Realtor and want to choose one of those 3 options, maybe you should consider volunteering on your local board. But why? It’s going to take time, you have other priorities – family, friends, not to mention your business.

Please let me offer 3 good reasons;

1) You will learn what is really happening in the real estate business –trends, new techniques, technology apps, how to stay out of trouble

2) The board will pay for your volunteer leadership training which will also translate to better business practices, more referrals and more business

3) You will have the satisfaction that you made a difference in making your profession better – how often does that happen?

Take a look at the 3 kinds of people again….can you afford Not to volunteer?

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Things to think about in the new year