Agenda and draft minutes

Special Scrutiny - Budget, Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 30th January, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Catmose, Oakham

Contact: Joanna Morley  01572 758271

Items
No. Item

504.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Coleman and Councillor Begy. Councillor Ainsley was in attendance for Councillor Begy.

 

505.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any personal or prejudicial interests they may have and the nature of those interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Act 1992 applies to them.

Minutes:

Councillor Stephenson declared an interest in item 7 on the agenda, Fees and Charges, as she pays a charge on an A board that she has outside her shop.

 

506.

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 216.

 

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 of the total time for 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.

 

507.

QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE FROM MEMBERS

To consider any questions with notice from Members received in accordance with the provisions of Procedure rule No. 218 and No. 218A.

Minutes:

No questions with notice from Members had been received.

508.

REVENUE AND CAPITAL BUDGET 2020/21 AND MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN pdf icon PDF 702 KB

To receive Cabinet Report No.03/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

·         The above report was presented to Cabinet on 21 January 2020 and the recommendations within the report were approved.

·         Cabinet has requested that Scrutiny review and comment on the proposals before the Cabinet meeting on 18 February 2020 so as to inform the decision making process.

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No.03/2020 was received from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

Sav Della Rocca, Strategic Director for Resources, introduced the report the purpose of which was to present a draft budget for consultation prior to the budget being formally set by Council in February 2020. 

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         RCC had received a 17% increase in spending power since 2015/16 which, given inflation and the increasing demands that the Council was facing, was deemed to be inadequate.   

·         Although funding overall had gone up, the majority of increased income was from Council Tax as Government funding, as a proportion of overall funding continued to reduce.

·         Council tax revenue did not include business rates. The Government allowed the Council to keep some of its business rates revenue and currently from the £11 million collected the Council kept c£5 million. Legislation was currently going through to allow Councils to keep up to 75% of the income but this would not necessarily mean the Council’s funding would increase as additional business rates retained was expected to be offset by loss of grants.

·         Rutland received less government funding per head than other unitary authorities with the same responsibilities because of the way the funding formula was applied. Hopefully the new formula would be much simpler and fairer and the Council was lobbying Government to ensure their concerns were heard.

·         It was not known with certainty when the new formula would be in place as the fairer funding review had already been going on for some time. The Government had promised it would release some details over the next few weeks.

·         The Rutland MP, Alicia Kearns, along with other rural East Midlands MPs was making it clear to the Ministry for Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG) that they were unhappy with current funding levels and would be lobbying for change. The Council’s representative on the rural networks forum was also applying pressure on the Government.

·         The report on Social Care had now been delayed several times and the new fairer funding review did not refer to it in any way even though it was likely to have a significant impact.

·         In the future, it was possible that limits on Council tax caps could be removed. Currently Councils had to hold a referendum to increase council tax beyond the limits set and the costs of doing so often outweighed any benefits even if residents voted in favour of a raise.

·         Officers had made preparations for an emergency budget in case the Council suddenly faced a massive shortfall of funds. This looked at which funding in which areas could be ‘turned off’ quickly if the need arose. This was work being done behind the scenes as part of sound financial management practices but ultimately any decision on what to cut in that situation would be down to Members. It was suggested that looking at services in this context could be a considered as part of a future scrutiny agenda item.

·         Although Rutland had the second  ...  view the full minutes text for item 508.

509.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND CAPITAL INVESTMENT STRATEGY 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To receive Cabinet Report No.05/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

·         This report includes information about the return on investment of Council property as requested by the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

·         The above report was presented to Cabinet on 21 January 2020 and the recommendations within the report were approved.

·         Cabinet has requested that Scrutiny review and comment on the proposals. The report will be presented to Full Council for approval on 24 February 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No.05/2020 was received from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

Cllr Brown introduced the report the purpose of which was to set out the statutory reports expected in relation to treasury and capital investment operations for 2020/21, linked to the Council’s Budget, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Capital Programme.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         The key change from the existing strategy was that the credit criteria had been amended. There was no change to the minimum credit criteria however should a situation arise where the counterparty ratings were only met from one of the credit ratings agencies the counterparty could still be used if other evidence suggested the counterparty was stable.

·         The Council did not tend to invest long term in other authorities and there was a ranking of authorities’ risk so it was fairly well known which ones needed to be avoided.

·         An inventory and review of all Council assets was taking place in order to identify which needed investment and which needed to be sold on or offloaded if they cost too much money to maintain.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The Growth Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee reviewed and commented on the proposals and NOTED the report before its presentation to Cabinet at their meeting on 18 February 2020.

 

 

510.

FEES AND CHARGES 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To receive Cabinet Report No.04/2020 from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

·         The above report was presented to Cabinet on 21 January 2020 and the recommendations within the report were approved.

·         Cabinet has requested that Scrutiny review and comment on the proposals. The report will be presented to Full Council for approval on 24 February 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No.03/2020 was received from the Strategic Director for Resources.

 

Sav Della Rocca, Strategic Director for Resources and section 151 Officer introduced the report the purpose of which was to set out the proposals for fees and charges for services provided by the Council for the financial year 2020/21.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         There would be a consultation with taxi drivers on a proposed increase to the fees and change to the fee structure. Following the consultation the proposals would be bought back for approval.

·         The newly introduced 30 minutes of free parking had been well received and would be continuing.

·         Fees and charges had been reviewed against other local authorities’ levels and against the Council’s real charges and had now been streamlined.

·         Councillor Woodley asked whether the fee charges set were something that the Council could influence in order to generate income. Mr Della Rocca would let Members know which of the fees and charges could be adjusted in this way but a policy decision to actively create income rather than cover costs would have to be made.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The Growth Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee reviewed and commented on the proposals and NOTED the report before its presentation to Cabinet at their meeting on 18 February 2020.