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Contact: Democratic Services 01775 764626
Election of Chairman
Councillor B Alcock was elected as Chairman for the duration of this meeting.
Declaration of Interests
Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.
There were none.
To consider the Draft General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme Budgets and the Draft Financial Medium Term Plan (Report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director – Commercialisation).
Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) which asked the Joint Panel to consider and scrutinise the Draft General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Capital Programme Budgets and the Draft Financial Medium Term Plan.
The Joint Panel was provided with a presentation by the Executive Director Commercialisation which covered the following areas – Revenue Budget and the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP); the Housing Revenue Account (HRA); Capital; the General Fund Capital Programme; HRA Capital and Reserves. It also highlighted key challenges, the future and key dates in the progression of the budget to its consideration by the Council on 27 February 2019.
Following consideration of the report and the presentation, the following issues were raised:
· Would the Authority be bidding again for a higher percentage of retention of Business Rates collected. If so, what was the likelihood of this being successful?
o The Authority had put in a bid however, this had not been successful. The result of the bid had not been know when the original draft budget had been set however, it had been assumed that it would not be successful.
· A lot of reliance had been placed on the new leisure contract – would this be as successful as stated at the recent meeting of Council?
o The leisure contract was a contractual position and the Authority should therefore expect to see the results promised. The sums built into the budget were seen as certain. However, the contract was for five years contract so it was more likely that the Authority would be seeking a longer position.
· With Brexit in mind, how sure was the Authority that it held it investments in the right place?
o A Treasury Management report was shortly due to be presented to the Governance and Audit Committee, which showed where monies were invested. Not more than £5million was placed with any one party, and investments were spread all over the world. When placing investments, a party’s robustness was always considered. The Authority would always look for the best and most robust position. In addition, it had to comply with the SLY guidelines – Security, Liquidity, Yield.
· In respect of fees and charges increases, was any research undertaken to determine whether this was the best way of increasing income?
o Officers agreed that fees and charges should not be put up too quickly or by too much. In some cases, the Authority needed to enhance the offer alongside the increase, and the two could be done hand in hand whilst also giving due consideration to the market. It was stated that the cost base was now increasing e.g. staffing costs and income were not keeping in line.
· Could spending from business rates be more active than reactive? E.g. when business rates stopped being payable on public toilets, could the money saved by ring fenced to bring the assets up to a better standard?
o What was essentially a small sum could ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent
There were none.