Councillors present: Cllr L Canham, Cllr J Burrell, Cllr S Thredgle, Cllr P Cutler, Cllr K Kelly and Cllr K Grehan.

 

In Attendance: J Thomas – Parish Clerk, E Shrubsole – RFO and L McLean – Administrator.

 

17/01/20FA: TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies for absence.

 

18/01/20FA: TO ACCEPT DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest

 

19/01/20FA TO CONSIDER DRAFT ANNUAL COUNCIL BUDGET FOR 2020-21

Members considered the draft annual council budget, which indicated a deficit due to budget implications and therefore need to increase the annual precept.

 

Significant pressures on this year’s budget were outlined. These included:

 

  • A critical need to replenish reserves, which had seen unexpected expenditure in recent years diminish this below advisable levels
  • Costs required to prepare for the opening of the Claire Tiltman Centre in the forthcoming financial year
  • A need to increase the budget for renewals and maintenance due to the increasing age of council property and playgrounds.
  • The requirement to increase the payroll budget due to a new national pay agreement for public sectors workers.
  • The cessation of S136 grant funding, which presented a deficit to the council’s budget

 

Members noted that the council’s annual budget decision-making process had been delayed this year in an attempt to receive specific confirmation regarding the national public sector pay award that would have an automatic impact on the budget, rather than inclusion of an arbitrary amount. However, negotiations regarding this were becoming increasingly protracted and looked unlikely to achieve resolution in time to conclude the budget position.

 

Members discussed their desire to maintain service provision to the Parish and also acknowledged that the forthcoming year was a period of significant activity with several projects in progress.

 

Unexpected expenditure in recent years to progress projects, for which there had been no specific budget provision, had seen depletion of reserves below unsustainable levels. As such, this budget required replenishment, but also a contingency sum to ensure this does not recur.

 

Members felt the council was demonstrating strong leadership by continuing to provide infrastructure and address issues that local residents feel strongly about.

 

It was noted that the council is currently mid-way in preparing a 5-year strategic plan and that further issues will undoubtedly be identified once results of the recent community needs survey are collated that the council may seek to include as projects.

 

As such, it was not felt beneficial or in the interest of the parish to seek to restrict the budget at this time.

 

Members acknowledged growing pressure on the cost of living, but noted that the proposed increase on the parish precept represented pennies, rather than pounds, per week and would enable the council to provide additional help to local residents in a number of ways.

 

Although always striving to strike an effective balance between need and affordability, the committee concluded it was necessary to propose a total increase in the annual precept of £65,279 to balance the budget.

 

This would result in an increase to Band D household of £13.63 per year, or 26p per week.

 

Members resolved unanimously to propose an annual increase to the council’s precept of £65,279 to balance the council budget for 2020-21.


Members resolved unanimously to commend the budget to the full council for ratification and adoption.