Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Melksham Town Hall

Contact: Linda Roberts 

No. Item




Apologies were received from the Town Mayor, Councillor Hubbard. Councillor Fiorelli later gave her apologies and left the meeting at 7.55pm. Councillor Westbrook, as Vice Chair, took the chair.


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.



No declarations of interest were received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To approve the Minutes of the Finance & Admin Committee meeting held on 3 June 2019, 23 September 2019 and the Special Finance & Admin Meeting held on 21 October 2019.

Additional documents:




Councillor Westbrook advised that the minutes of 3 June 2019 incorrectly referred to her as Mayor and Councillor Hubbard as Deputy Mayor.


The minutes having previously been circulated were signed by the Chair, Councillor Fiorelli, as a correct record. 



Budgetary Requirements for 2020/21

To consider 2nd draft budget for 2020/21, which includes suggestions raised at previous committee meetings.





The presentation of the Budget and the possibility of producing a straightforward profit and loss account was discussed. The Town Clerk advised that the presentation of the budget was determined by the accounting package used which is applicable to Town and Parish Councils, local government accounting.


The Councillors were concerned that the Budget should be as accurate as possible based on realities and not estimates as this would affect the precept for the town. The Town Clerk reiterated to Councillors that the Budget was based on the past year’s figures and expenditure to date, advising that it was impossible to predict next year’s expenditure exactly.


Summary Budget pdf icon PDF 227 KB


Councillor Westbrook  suggested that the Budget summary be discussed as part of the individual sub-headings.


Asset Management pdf icon PDF 155 KB


Consideration was given to the Council’s policy of zero-base budgeting on a line by line basis on all  items included in the Budget, meaning that there were nil carry forwards. It was  thought preferable to make reasonable and sensible carry forwards on a line by line basis.


Councillor Westbrook had noticed that the budget of £30,000 earmarked for public toilets this year had not been spent. She was concerned that this amount would fall into general reserves at the year end, if it remained unspent. Historically, Councillors had considered any underspends and decided what they wanted to do with them. Councillor Westbrook also suggested that the income from CIL allocated in September for walkways into the town, should be used towards public toilets instead.


Councillor Welch recommended that a parking scheme audit was undertaken. The Town Clerk advised that this was on the job list to be undertaken by the Economic Development Manager once they were in post.


405/1182 Solar Farm Income – Councillor Pain sought confirmation regarding the Solar Farm income. The Town Clerk advised that if the income received was in excess of the £40,000 estimate included in the Budget, as it had been this year, this would be a windfall. The amount received was based per head of population within the Melksham boundary and so would potentially increase should the boundary change. Councillor Westbrook stated that she believed funds from the Solar Farm should be earmarked for specific projects.




Assembly Hall pdf icon PDF 35 KB


The predicted subsidy for the Assembly Hall for the current financial year was discussed.



Community Development pdf icon PDF 16 KB


Councillor Pain noted that the rental incomes were low. The low rent from The Roundhouse was due to the lack of facilities such as a toilet. The Town Clerk advised Councillors that quotes for some refurbishment were being obtained.


The Town Clerk advised Councillor Westbrook that £5,000 for tree planting had been earmarked as part of Community Development.


Various headings in the Community Development section of the Budget were discussed:


·         It was noted by Councillor Pain that the Budget included nothing for play areas. The Town Clerk advised that the costs of wages/equipment/tree maintenance would be under different Budget headings. It was agreed that an amount of £250 could be included for additional planting in the Prince of Wales Garden.


·         The need to hire a commercial contractor for the churchyard  in the Spring was discussed.


·         Councillor Pain stated that he felt that the Budget amount for this item was too low. The Town Clerk advised Councillors that some of the other costs would be included under other Budget headings but said that she would review the Budget headings herself when time allowed.





Finance & Administration pdf icon PDF 121 KB


The need to replace equipment and furniture and the use of different Budget headings in connection with various items of expenditure was discussed.


Councillor Fiorelli updated Councillors on the cost saving achieved by the early relinquishment of the lease for the franking machine and the use of postage stamps instead.


Councillor Fiorelli left the meeting at 7.55pm and handed over the Chair to Councillor Westbrook.


The Town Clerk will recommend that another Finance & Admin. Working Group meeting is arranged, with an invitation to all Councillors.


Website pdf icon PDF 318 KB

To approve the recommendations contained within the Assistant to the Town Clerk’s report.

Additional documents:


The pros and cons of the four proposals were discussed once Councillor Westbrook had reminded Councillors that it had been agreed that the Town Clerk had been asked to bring a report listing everything that the Council wanted to see in a website and proposals to this meeting.


Councillors discussed the content of the proposed new website. It was agreed that the Assembly Hall would form an important part of the new website. The Town Clerk demonstrated Burnham Parish Council’s website which was designed by Contractor B.


Ongoing support costs and maintenance charges were discussed together with ideas for content and the need for the website to be clean and up to date.


It was propose by Councillor Sankey and seconded by Councillor Westbrook to recommend contractor B.


It was UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to appoint Contractor B to design and implement the new website for the Town Council.




Monthly Financial Statement for October 2019 pdf icon PDF 13 KB

To note the Monthly Financial Statement for October 2019.


The monthly financial statement for October 2019 was noted.


Budget Report for October 2019 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To note Budget Report for October 2019.


The budget report for October 2019 was noted. However, Councillor Pain was under the impression that an urgent flag would be raised if an item went significantly over budget and so wished to discuss the expenditure incurred under various headings.


P 4043 – The Town Clerk advised that the HR committee had resolved to pay for some extra HR support from Ellis Whittham to get the Town Council through the staffing review.


P 4000 – Salaries ENI and pension – The Town Clerk advised that due to personal circumstances, the Town Hall cleaner had been off work. As a result agency cleaners had been employed.


P 4101 – Electricity – The Town Clerk said that a possible mix up between the Assembly Hall and Town Hall supplies had occurred and is being investigated although it appeared that the cost had been grossly under budgeted initially.


P 4108 – Equipment and servicing – The Town Clerk confirmed that the additional expenditure had been incurred to extricate the Town Council from the lease for the franking machine and installing a new phone system.


P 4252 – electricity for the Pavilion Councillor Westbrook commented that the original budget appeared to be low.


P 4255 –Fire security at the Pavilion – The Town Clerk advised that this related to fire extinguisher maintenance and fire safety.


P 4191 – The Town Clerk confirmed that this expenditure related to repairs to 31 Market Place.


P 4924 Telephone security alarms –The Town Clerk agreed to check the nominal account and speak to the Facilities Manager regarding this entry.


P 4901 catering -  The Town Clerk agreed to check the income figure.


It was noted by Councillor Sankey that income from the Assembly Hall had exceeded expenditure in October 2019. The unpredictability of the Assembly Hall income and expenditure was raised. The Town Clerk suggested that the Assembly Hall budget could be profiled to accurately reflect the seasonal fluctuations in income and expenditure.


The Town Clerk again suggested that two meetings of the Finance Working Group be arranged during the week commencing 9 December 2019; one in the day and one in the evening.