The only two declared candidates in Winnipeg's mayoral race have been warned by election officials to keep their money in their wallets until campaigning officially starts in May.

The city clerk's office says Gord Steeves and Mike Vogiatzakis violated election spending rules when they launched their campaigns in recent months.

"It's a first offence: simply making them aware of those rules, asking them to cease and desist from violating those rules in the future, and making them aware that if they continue to violate the rules in the future, that they may be subject to possible prosecution," deputy city clerk Marc Lemoine told CBC News on Tuesday.

Steeves, a former city councillor, spent cash on balloons, signs and T-shirts at his mayoral campaign kick-off in October.

Vogiatzakis, a local businessman, put up banners and had a rented sound system at his campaign launch in March.

Lemoine said all candidates for mayor have to wait until May 1 to start spending on their campaigns. Those vying for council sets must wait until June.

"We do want to make sure that we ensure a level playing field for all candidates," he said.

"So whenever we get a complaint, we look into it by contacting the candidate and [issuing] a letter to the candidate making sure they're aware what the rules are."

The city announced on Tuesday that it's launching a Facebook page and Twitter account, as well as a mobile app, to provide information on this fall's civic election.

Voters will go to the polls on Oct. 22 to elect a mayor, councillors and school trustees.