To consider the Draft General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2019/20 revenue and capital estimates and the Draft Financial Medium Term Plan (for recommendation to Council (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).
Please note that this report and appendices were revised on 11 February 2019, and therefore replaces the version published on 4 February 2019.
Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director - Commercialisation (S151) which asked the Cabinet to consider the Draft General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2019/20 revenue and capital estimates and the Draft Financial Medium Term Plan, for recommendation to Council.
In introducing the report, the Deputy Leader advised that the main points were – that there was a balanced budget for 2019/20; the Council Tax increase for a Band D property in 2019/20 would be a £4.95 increase on 2018/19 levels; there were to be no cuts to service delivery; there was no reliance on the New Homes Bonus; with regard to the funding regime, there was much change but the Authority was one of the few in a strong financial position; the Authority was good at bringing in external funding; and the Authority held healthy reserves.
It was stated that the element of Council Tax paid to drainage boards was significant and that it may be useful if the public were aware of how much this was. The Executive Director Commercialisation confirmed that the drainage board precept for 2019/20 accounted for 18% of the District Council’s net budget.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:
1) That it be recommended:
a) That the Revenue Estimates for the General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Spalding Special Expenses for 2019/20 (Appendices A, B and C) be approved.
b) That the use of reserves (Appendix D) be approved.
c) That the Council Tax for a Band A property in 2019/20 be set at £116.52 a £3.30 per annum increase on 2018/19 levels (band D £174.78 for 2019/20, a £4.95 per annum increase on 2018/19 levels).
d) That the Spalding special expense for a Band A property be set at £15.78 for 2019/20, (previously £15.66 in 2018/19) and Band D £23.67 for 2019/20, (previously £23.49 in 2018/19).
e) That the Medium Term Financial Strategy (Appendix B) be approved.
f) That Housing Revenue Account weekly dwelling rents reduce by 1% over the previous year, 2018-19, rent with effect from Monday 1st April 2019. This is in line with current government guidelines and legislation.
g) That the Capital Strategy and Capital Programme (Appendices E and F) be approved.
h) That the Treasury Management Strategy, including the Minimum Revenue Provision policy and Investment Strategy be approved. (Appendix G).
i) That the fees and charges shown in Appendix H be approved for adoption from 1 April 2019.
2) To increase the establishment by 1.0 FTE (shared with BDC, 60% BDC and 40% SHDC), to create a post that adds capacity to support the Chief Executive and Directors at a senior level to move forward a number of strategic priorities and helps to identify the key impacts of emerging national and local policy on the organisation(s) from a corporate point of view, enabling effective mitigation as required (as detailed in Appendix A, paragraph 3.7.2 of the report).
3) Approve the additional council tax premium for long term empty properties as detailed in 1.19 of the report.
4) That Cabinet approve the administration of the Retail Discount scheme in line with Government guidance (Appendix I), and that the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy is updated to reflect this scheme with final approval delegated to the Section 151 Officer and Portfolio Holder.
5) That delegated authority be given to the Executive Director - Commercialisation (s151), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, to make any necessary amendments to the budget prior to council due to late notifications.
(Other options considered:
· There were no alternative options presented, however amendments could be made by Cabinet for recommendation to Council.
Reasons for decision:
· To comply with the budgetary and policy framework.)