Agenda and minutes

Special Scrutiny - Budget, Resources Scrutiny Panel (Now Growth, Infrastructure & Resources Scrutiny - See this link for meetings prior to May 2017)
Wednesday, 18th January, 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HP

Contact: Corporate Support  01572 720991

Items
No. Item

511.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any disclosable interests under the Code of Conduct and the nature if those interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.

Minutes:

(i)    Mr Oxley declared an interest in Item 5 (Registrars Fees) by virtue of the fact he is a Civil Burial Celebrant.

(ii)  Mr Walters declared an interest in Item 5 (Registrars Fees & Hire of Council premises) by virtue of the fact he was a professional photographer.

 

512.

PETITIONS, DEPUTATIONS AND QUESTIONS

To receive any petitions, deputations and questions received from Members of the Public in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 217.

 

The total time allowed for this item shall be 30 minutes. Petitions, declarations and questions shall be dealt with in the order in which they are received. Questions may also be submitted at short notice by giving a written copy to the Committee Administrator 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

 

The total time allowed for questions at short notice is 15 minutes out of the total time of 30 minutes. Any petitions, deputations and questions that have been submitted with prior formal notice will take precedence over questions submitted at short notice. Any questions that are not considered within the time limit shall receive a written response after the meeting and be the subject of a report to the next meeting.

Minutes:

No petitions, deputations or questions had been received.

 

513.

QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE FROM MEMBERS

To consider any questions with notice from Members received in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rules No 219 and 219A.

Minutes:

No questions with notice had been received from Members.

 

514.

REVENUE AND CAPITAL BUDGET 2017-18 AND MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To receive Report No. 8/2017 from the Director for Resources.

Members are requested to bring their copy, distributed under separate cover.

 

·         The above report was presented to Cabinet on 10 January 2017 and the recommendations within the report were approved.

 

·         Cabinet has requested that Scrutiny review and comment on proposals before the Cabinet on 14 February 2017 so as to inform the decision-making process.

 

·         The report and its proposals may be amended following the outcome of the Scrutiny Panel.  Scrutiny is therefore asked to consider the report and provide feedback to the Portfolio Holder and Director.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No. 8/2017 was received from the Director for Resources. The purpose of the report was to present a draft budget for consultation prior to the budget being formally set in February 2017.

 

The Acting Leader, Mr Mathias, gave a brief overview of the report. He advised members that the Council was in the second year of a four year settlement from government which significantly reduced funding provided to local authorities.  A further reduction was due to changes in the New Homes Bonus. Payments previously received for 6 years were being reduced to four years and a baseline of 0.4% is being introduced.  This baseline represented the percentage of new housing the government expected an authority to build and therefore the New Homes Bonus would now only be paid for new builds after a deduction for the baseline. .  He advised that Rutland’s MP, Sir Alan Duncan, had written to the Government on the council’s behalf requesting more funding.  He summed up stating that the 2017/18 budget was robust but that there was uncertainty beyond 2020.

 

During the discussion the following points were noted:

a)  There would be no direct impact on the interest payable on loans due to the changes in the exchange rate of the £ against both the $ and the € as debt was fixed.  The Assistant Director Finance, Mr Della Rocca, advised that forecasts of interest receivable were based on advice from Capita.  This advice was updated on a weekly basis and current indication was that rates are unlikely to exceed 1%.

b)  The Council will lose £700,000 with the introduction of a baseline for development eligible for the New Home Bonus over a four year period.  Rutland has in excess of 16,500 properties and under the change the bonus would no longer be payable  for approximately the first 65-70 new properties built.

c)  Members noted that the Councils spend per head is one of the lowest of all Unitary Council’s and queried how this compared at service level. Mr Della Rocca advised that historic data produced by the Audit Commission showed spend in most service areas was low but that analysis on the data returns provided to Government had not been completed a across service areas.  He advised that as the data returns were not audited, there were some concerns with using the data at service level.  Members asked if, going forward, it would be possible to compare Rutland’s spend against other authorities, for example in social care. It was noted that this was not an immediate request as part of the budget setting process.

d)  That the provision for a full time Conservation Officer was not currently included in the budget.  Mr Mathias confirmed that this was a shared service with South Kesteven District Council and Rutland’s provision was for one day per week.  At present this was deemed sufficient by officers. .  Mr Brown further clarified that the previous full time officer would deal with the whole of a listed building  ...  view the full minutes text for item 514.

515.

FEES AND CHARGES 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive Report No. 23/2017 from the Director for Resources.

Members are requested to bring their copy, distributed under separate cover.

 

·         The above report is to be considered by Cabinet on 17 January 2017.

 

·         Cabinet has requested that Scrutiny review and comment on proposals before the Cabinet on 14 February 2017 so as to inform the decision-making process.

 

·         The report and its proposals may be amended following the outcome of the Scrutiny Panel.  Scrutiny is therefore asked to consider the report and provide feedback to the Portfolio Holder and Director.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No. 23/2016 was received from the Director for Resources. The report set out the proposals for fees and charges for services provided by the Council for the financial year 2017/18.

 

In accordance with the declarations of interest the Chair, Mr Walters, deferred discussion on the Fees and Charges for the Registrars Service until all other areas had been dealt with.

 

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

a)     The level of fees and charges was increased annually using either inflation of the anticipated base increase in council tax, for 2017/18 this was 1.99%. 

b)     That Cabinet recognised a need for these increases to be dealt with more commercially in some areas, especially where recharging officer time rather than just recovering costs.  In order to facilitate this it had been agreed that fees and charges proposals would be put to Portfolio Holders earlier in the budget setting process.

c)     That the proposed changes to parking fees were to simplify the charging structure across the county’s car parks and to mitigate the increase in the National Non Domestic Rates levy on the car parks themselves, which in some cases had doubled.  Mr Mathias advised that whilst Uppingham had been benefitting from lower charges historically the cost to provide this with regard to rates, electricity and Enforcement Officer time was the same for Uppingham as it was for Oakham and costs should reflect this, it was recognised that a previous subsidy paid by Uppingham Town Council had now been withdrawn.  Mr Oxley raised concerns that Uppingham was being treated the same as Oakham as, in his opinion, they were not the same entity; Uppingham did not have a train station and serviced 17 surrounding villages.  Should parking charges in Uppingham rise substantially many would choose to shop elsewhere for example Corby where free parking was available. 

d)     Mr Lammie later noted that as the approval of the budget was to be done by Full Council an amendment to the parking charges could still be submitted by members.

Mr Walters invited questions or comments in regard to the Registrars service, as none were forthcoming he and Mr Oxley remained in the meeting in line with their declaration of interest.  Mr Walters advised members of the timeframe available to submit comment to Cabinet before the 14 February meeting.

 

AGREED:

 

1.     That the Panel NOTED the content of the report.