To consider the Final General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2020/21 revenue and capital estimates and the Final Financial Medium Term Plan (for Recommendation to Council) (report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance and the Executive Director - Commercialisation (S151) officer which asked the Cabinet to consider the Final General Fund and Housing Revenue Account 2020/21 revenue and capital estimates and the Final Financial Medium Term Plan, for recommendation to Council.
The Portfolio Holder advised that there were no significant changes to the budget and highlighted the following areas:
· Item 3.7.4 of Appendix A Supplies & Services stated that the Designated Councillor Budget was to reduce. This would not be the case. The existing budget of £12k would continue to run over the 4 year term.
· Challenges presented over the financial year from temporary accommodation for homeless people and the downturn in planning income totalled £670k pressure in the budget.
· 2021 would see the last of the Revenue Support Grant and Rural Services Grant (£435k). 4 years ago the Council received grants totalling £1.5m. £1m had been lost to date with the remainder set to be lost over the next year.
· The Council took the middle ground on funding assumptions with business rates.
· There had been a delay to the Government Fair Funding review so it had been assumed that there were no financial changes.
· The Council would receive an allocation of New Homes Bonus again this year which would go towards more commercial opportunities and to invest in towns, villages and parishes.
· Central Government announced in January additional business rates relief which would benefit 190 district businesses commencing April 2020.
· Garden waste collection fees were to increase by £3 per year.
· Council tax would increase by 10p per week for a band D home.
· The increased Drainage Board levies equated to 50% of the District’s Council tax.
· The Pride initiative had been built into the base budget to enhance towns, villages and parishes.
· Household waste collections continued to be every week.
· The Council will continue to build on the new homes success of 2019/20 with £2.55m to be invested in new affordable homes.
Members asked how much was paid to PSPS and were advised by officers that £3.2m was paid for all services.
Members expressed appreciation that the £12k Designated Councillor Budget (DCB) will continue to run over the 4 year term and the Leader commented that the DCB scheme has been very successful with money being spent appropriately on community projects.
It was stated that the element of Council Tax paid to drainage boards was significant and that it would be preferable for this to be funded separately. However, despite the challenges, the Council continued to be one of the best value for money councils employing the best people.
Members thanked the Portfolio Holder and officers within the Finance Team for their hard work in preparation for the budget report and for opportunities to attend meetings in order to fully understand financial decisions and processes.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:
1) Cabinet approved and recommended to full Council:
a. That the Revenue Estimates for the General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and Spalding Special Expenses for 2020/21 (Appendices A, B, C and I) be approved.
b. That the use of reserves (Appendix D) be approved.
c. That the Council Tax for a Band A property in 2020/21 be set at £119.82 (a £3.30 per annum increase on 2019/20 levels) and band D £179.73 for 2020/21 (a £4.95 per annum increase on 2019/20 levels).
d. That the Spalding special expense for a Band A property be set at £15.88 for 2020/21, (previously £15.78 in 2019/20) and Band D £23.82 for 2020/21, (previously £23.67 in 2019/20).
e. That the Medium Term Financial Strategy (Appendix B) be approved.
f. That Housing Revenue Account weekly dwelling rents increase by 2.7% over the previous year, 2019/20, with effect from Monday 6th April 2020. 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 and H).
2) That an additional project management resource be provided, funded from the investment & growth reserves, for a period of 2 years, to support the delivery and achievement service efficiencies in Environmental Services.
3) 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.)