Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Via Zoom

Contact: Linda Roberts - Town Clerk 

Items
No. Item

27/21

Zoom Virtual Meeting Access

 

Join Zoom Meeting

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28/21

Public Participation

Minutes:

Councillor Fiorelli asked questions received from members of the public.

 

1)      Union Street – a resident asked about the bollards on the Chicken Hut forecourt.  Approximately a year ago Council agreed to provide bollards to stop parking in that area. The resident asked when this would be actioned?

 

2)      A resident asked about the SIDS devices particularly relating to the Manor School area. The SIDS were installed and then disappeared. What has happened to the SIDS?

 

Response from Locum Assistant - the Council has had operational issues with the SIDS devices and are currently in negotiations with the supplier to resolve the situation.

 

3)      A resident near to Shurnhold Fields read a published article relating to Shurnhold Fields, regarding the Town Council’s equal 50/50 split for admin support with Melksham Without Parish Council.  Clarification is required why the Town Council were not upholding their end of the agreement. Is this the case and, if not, will the Town Council be seeking an apology from the chair of Melksham Without Parish Council for comments in the Melksham News?

 

Response from Assistant Town Clerk – The Town Council had a shortage of staff last year being understaffed and two members of staff suspended. The admin team did not have the admin capacity. Since the start of 2021 the Council has been doing more than their share of admin work for Shurnhold Fields and will seek to maintain at least 50%.

 

4)      King George V Park – a bench in the park only has one plank on it. The resident wanted to know if the Town Council would be replacing this shortly or is the bench going to be removed? Councillor Fiorelli to forward photos to the Assistant Town Clerk.

 

Response from Assistant Town Clerk - once photos had been received the Amenities Manager will organise either a repair or replacement.

 

A member of the public thanked the Clerk for providing costs regarding Locum workers covering suspended staff. The expenditure was £26,067 including VAT on locum costs. Questions were:

a)      How much would Council have saved if the two members of staff had not been suspended?

b)      This amount does not include additional H.R. advice costs. Could the Council provide the people of Melksham details of this cost?

 

It is noted that the Locum Assistant is still providing services to the Council. Could the Mayor advise:

1)      how long will this be for?

2)      what the projected cost is and tell the people of Melksham why his work cannot be undertaken by current staff?

3)      Are all admin staff currently employed?  There must be administrative capacity available for example within the Assembly Hall team as the hall has been closed for most of the year.

 

Response: Councillor Westbrook referred to an email dated 19 September 2020, when the Locum Assistant left the employment of Melksham Town Council for at least 10 days. At this time protracted discussions took place between the Town Clerk and the Economic Development Manager to ascertain whether he could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/21

29/21

Apologies

To receive Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Illman.

30/21

Declarations of Interest

To receive any Declarations of Interest in respect of items on this agenda as required by the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. Members may however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared on the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

31/21

Budget Update from Wiltshire Council

Minutes:

Councillor Alford provided an update on Wiltshire Council’s 2021-2022 budget which proposes a 2% increase on a band D property and a 3% increase on the Social Care levy.  

32/21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 265 KB

To  approve the draft minutes of the Full Council meeting held on 18 January 2021, having previously been circulated to be approved as correct, and agree for them to be signed by the Town Mayor, Councillor Aves at a later date.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on  18 January 2021 having previously been circulated, were agreed as a correct record, subject to councillor Hubbard’s request to include the friendly amendment with the original resolution under agenda item 18/21.  It was  agreed that the minutes would be signed by the Town Mayor, Councillor Aves at a later date.

33/21

Budget Proposal

To receive the budget proposal

Minutes:

Councillors Reviewed the budget proposal for 2021-2022.

 

The following options to reduce budget expenditure further and so reduce the precept increase were proposed:

 

-          The sports roadshow – remove at a saving of £3,000

-          Market Place toilets – reduce expenditure by £3,000 to £17,000

-          Arts Project – reduce expenditure by £2,000 to £1,000

-          Equipment – reduce expenditure by £3,200 to £21,000

-          Use of the £21,000 projected budget surplus for the current financial year to offset the proposed expenditure on equipment for the Amenities Team

 

A staffing review of the Assembly Hall Team and the Amenities Team was proposed by Councillor Hubbard and the viability of some staff roles within the council questioned. The possibility of redundancies through staffing rationalisation was also raised. However, Councillor Welch was anxious to emphasise that staff were the Council’s most important resource.

 

Concerns over the viability of the Assembly Hall as a venue in the long-term were also raised in view of the impact of Covid 19 and the subsidies being provided by the Council already.

 

Councillor Hubbard highlighted the dangers of using the major projects reserve, general reserve and the precept support fund to prop up the budget for the coming year.

 

Councillor Wiltshire expressed his preference for a budget with zero increase to the precept. It was pointed out that the percentage increases being proposed resulted in very small annual monetary increases.

 

The creation of a separate Business Review Working Group to review all staffing costs through a series of exercises, with an aim of making a saving of £100,000 in 2021-2022, was considered.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Aves and seconded by Councillor Pain to accept the current 2021-2022 budget proposal. However, Councillor Hubbard proposed an amendment to Councillor Aves proposal.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hubbard, seconded by Councillor Wiltshire, with a request for the vote to be recorded, that Melksham Town Council amalgamate the Facilities and Amenities Teams and look to find a rationalisation saving of £100,000 on the 2021-2022 budget. The vote was as follows:

 

Councillor

For

Against

Abstain

Pat Aves

 

X

 

Sue Brown

X

 

 

Vanessa Fiorelli

 

X

 

Jon Hubbard

X

 

 

Kathy Iles

 

X

 

Clive Jeffries

 

X

 

Geoff Mitcham

 

X

 

Martin Pain

 

X

 

Mike Sankey

X

 

 

Tony Watts

 

X

 

Terri Welch

 

X

 

Adrienne Westbrook

 

X

 

Richard Wiltshire

X

 

 

TOTALS

4

9

 

 

The Assistant to the Town Clerk confirmed the motion had fallen. 

 

The proposed amendments to the budget totaled £32,200 reducing the budget expenditure to £1,043,750, resulting in a Band D precept increase of 2.26%.

34/21

2021-2022 Budget

Members are requested to approve the Town Council’s budget for 2021/2022 and set the precept for 2021/2022 at £950,950.   The following resolutions are required, see Town Clerks breakdown in agenda.

 

5.1       To use the combined total of Solar Farm monies and CIL funding (£57,000) to contribute towards the cost of the new play area in KGV and to delay the planned improvements to Primrose/Dorset and Riverside play areas.

 

5.2       Approve the use of the General Reserve up to £38,000 to support the budget

 

5.3       Approve the use of the Major projects reserve up to £42,000 to support the budget

 

To approve the budget for 2021/2022 and resolve to set the a precept of £950,950

 

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Westbrook, seconded by Councillor Pain with a request for a recorded.

 

RESOLVED to use the combined total of Solar Farm monies and CIL funding (£57,000) to contribute towards the cost of the new play area in KGV and to delay the planned improvements to Primrose/Dorset and Riverside play areas.

 

Councillor

For

Against

Abstain

Pat Aves

X

 

 

Sue Brown

 

X

 

Vanessa Fiorelli

X

 

 

Jon Hubbard

 

X

 

Kathy Iles

X

 

 

Clive Jeffries

X

 

 

Geoff Mitcham

X

 

 

Martin Pain

X

 

 

Mike Sankey

 

X

 

Tony Watts

X

 

 

Terri Welch

X

 

 

Adrienne Westbrook

X

 

 

Richard Wiltshire

 

X

 

TOTALS

9

4

 

 

RESOLVED to approve the use of the General Reserve up to £38,000 to support the budget.

 

Councillor

For

Against

Abstain

Pat Aves

X

 

 

Sue Brown

 

X

 

Vanessa Fiorelli

X

 

 

Jon Hubbard

X

 

 

Kathy Iles

X

 

 

Clive Jeffries

X

 

 

Geoff Mitcham

X

 

 

Martin Pain

X

 

 

Mike Sankey

 

X

 

Tony Watts

X

 

 

Terri Welch

X

 

 

Adrienne Westbrook

X

 

 

Richard Wiltshire

 

X

 

TOTALS

10

3

 

 

RESOLVED to approve the use of the major projects reserve up to £42,000 to support the budget

 

Councillor

For

Against

Abstain

Pat Aves

X

 

 

Sue Brown

 

X

 

Vanessa Fiorelli

X

 

 

Jon Hubbard

 

X

 

Kathy Iles

X

 

 

Clive Jeffries

X

 

 

Geoff Mitcham

X

 

 

Martin Pain

X

 

 

Mike Sankey

 

X

 

Tony Watts

X

 

 

Terri Welch

X

 

 

Adrienne Westbrook

X

 

 

Richard Wiltshire

 

X

 

TOTALS

9

4

 

 

RESOLVED to approve the budget for 2021/2022 and resolve to set a precept of £918,750

Councillor

For

Against

Abstain

Pat Aves

X

 

 

Sue Brown

 

X

 

Vanessa Fiorelli

X

 

 

Jon Hubbard

 

X

 

Kathy Iles

X

 

 

Clive Jeffries

X

 

 

Geoff Mitcham

X

 

 

Martin Pain

X

 

 

Mike Sankey

 

X

 

Tony Watts

X

 

 

Terri Welch

X

 

 

Adrienne Westbrook

X

 

 

Richard Wiltshire

 

X

 

TOTALS

4

9

 

 

35/21

Financial Risk Assessment and Reserves Policy pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Members are asked to approve and adopt the Financial Risk Assessment and Reserves Policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Pain requested an amendment be made to the Financial Risk Assessment.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Westbrook, seconded by Councillor Aves and

 

RESOLVED that consideration of the Financial Risk Assessment and Reserves Policy should be deferred until the return of the RFO in order to obtain a clearer understanding of the legal implications for the Council.

36/21

Payments

To RESOLVE to approve the attached payments

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Aves, seconded by Councillor Welch and

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to approve the payments schedule.

37/21

Accounts pdf icon PDF 13 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Council noted the Accounts as at December 2020.

38/21

Detailed Income & Expenditure Report as at 31 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To note the report

Minutes:

Councillors noted the detailed income and Expenditure report as at 31 December 2021.

39/21

Monthly Financial Statements pdf icon PDF 13 KB

40/21

Asset Management Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To receive the draft minutes of the Asset Management Committee held on 14 December 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Asset Management Committee held on 14 December 2020 were noted.

41/21

Shurnhold Fields Working Party pdf icon PDF 211 KB

To agree the terms of reference for the Shurnhold Fields Working Group

42/21

Shurnhold Fields Working Party Notes pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To note the Shurnhold Fields Working Party Notes of 14 January 2021

Minutes:

The notes of the Shurnhold Fields Working Party meeting held on 14 January 2021 were received.

43/21

Shurnhold Fields Working Party Terms of reference pdf icon PDF 211 KB

To agree the attached terms of reference for the Shurnhold Fields Working Party.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Westbrook, seconded by Councillor Aves and

 

            RESOLVED to approve the items to be included in the Shurnhold Fields Working Party Terms of Reference.

44/21

Shurnhold Fields Working Party Recommendations pdf icon PDF 210 KB

The Shurnhold Fields Working Group is meeting on 21 January 2021 to discuss the quotes supplied for works to the entrance, access road and car park area of Shurnhold Fields. The current shortfall is approximately £20,500 which would be funded 50:50 between both Councils. However, the works would need to go out to tender and contract finder in view of the amounts now involved. Members are requested to decide whether the Town Council wishes to proceed with this stage.

 

 

Minutes:

The Assistant to the Town Clerk confirmed that the original spreadsheet was distributed to Councillors before the revised quote for the access works, which reduced the expenditure to approximately £4,500 to be split equally between Melksham Town Council and Melksham Without Parish Council.

 

However, using approximately £21,000 from the Open Space Maintenance Fund and the consequences for additional expenditure needed to be considered.  The Assistant to the Town Clerk stated that the revised spreadsheet would be distributed, once the precise works to be carried out had been established and accurate costs obtained.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Westbrook, seconded by Councillor Hubbard and:

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to defer consideration of this agenda item until receipt of up to date, accurate information from the Shurnhold Fields Working Party.

45/21

Confidential Session

In view of the sensitive nature of the business to be transacted the public and press are advised to leave the meeting.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Aves, seconded by Councillor Fiorelli and

 

RESOLVED: that in view of the confidential nature of the information to be discussed, and the implications thereof, that the press and public be instructed to withdraw.

46/21

Job Retention Scheme

Members to note the information and advice received from HMRC, Ellis Whittham and the Town Council’s solicitor.

Minutes:

Councillors discussed the Job Retention Scheme and reviewed the advice given by the Council’s advisers.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Westbrook, seconded by Councillor Pain, incorporating a ‘friendly amendment’ by Councillor Hubbard’s and: 

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED the Job Retention Scheme should be utilised for some of the Assembly Hall Team.

47/21

Neighbourhood Plan Draft Minutes

Update from Town Council representatives on the group and

 

To receive the draft minutes of Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meetings:

 

·         25 August 2020

·         23 September 2020

·         21 October 2020

·         25 November 2020

Minutes:

The draft minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meetings held on the following dates were received:

 

·         25 August 2020

·         23 September 2020

·         21 October 2020

·         25 November 2020

 

48/21

Neighbourhood Plan Recommendations

To note the  recommendations and resolutions from the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Meetings held on 25 August 2020, 23 September 2020, 21 October 2020 and

25 November 2020 attached.

Minutes:

The recommendations and resolutions from the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meetings held on 25 August 2020, 23 September 2020, 21 October 2020 and 25 November 2020 were  received and noted.

49/21

Date and Time of Next Meeting

22 March 2021 at 7.00 pm via Zoom.

Minutes:

1 March 2021 at 7.00 pm via Zoom.