Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Melksham Town Hall

Contact: Linda Roberts - Town Clerk 

Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies

Minutes:

No apologies were received.

26.

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.

27.

Minutes

To approve the Minutes of the Finance & Admin Committee meeting held on 18th  November 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2019, having previously been circulated, were signed by the Chair, Councillor Fiorelli, as a correct record.

28.

Finances

29.

Monthly Financial Statements for December 2019 pdf icon PDF 13 KB

To note the Monthly Financial Statements for December 2019. The reports are to follow.

 

Minutes:

The monthly financial statement for December 2019 was noted.

 

The Town Clerk stated that she had conducted an audit of the accounts and codings therein and had established that some of the codings needed to be corrected. However, at present, the projected year-end surplus was approximately £45,000, of which £20,000 had already been allocated to the proposed refurbishment of the Bath Road toilets. She was currently working to establish a more accurate projection for the year-end.

30.

Income and Expenditure to December 2019 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To note the Income and Expenditure figures by budget heading to December 2019. The reports are to follow.

Minutes:

The income and expenditure statement for December 2019 was noted.

 

Councillor Wiltshire raised several queries:

 

Cost Centre:

 

4043:               The Town Clerk confirmed that it had already been proposed and approved that the overspend would be met from general reserves.

 

4041:               The Town Clerk confirmed that the current underspend on grants could be explained by the fact that grants allocated in connection with the free use of facilities at the Assembly Hall and the Town Hall had not yet been utilized in full by the recipients. In addition, the grant to the Party in the Park committee would not be paid as the event will not take place this year. The unused grant for Party in the Park will be referred to the next Full Council meeting.

 

1034:               Councillor Wiltshire queried whether the anticipated loss arising from the fact that the Committee room was no longer being let had been taken into account. The Town Clerk indicated that the income to date from the letting of rooms within the Town Hall was actually more than double that per the budget.

 

It was noted by Councillors that, due to a challenging year, a lot of the overspends had been unavoidable but that explanations had been provided for all of them.

31.

Earmarked Reserves 2020 pdf icon PDF 11 KB

To consider the report.

Minutes:

The earmarked reserves for 2020 were noted.

32.

Draft Budget 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

An opportunity for members to discuss the Budget prior to its’ approval at Full Council on 20th January 2020.

 

Members are requested to make a recommendation to Full Council for the approval of the Budget.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion took place regarding proposed projects to be undertaken by the Town Council.

 

Councillor Sankey thought that the Council shouldn’t accrue for projects that they hadn’t formally resolved to undertake, referring to the maintenance building at the King George V Park.

 

Councillor Hubbard stated a masterplan had been adopted for the King George V Park which incorporated a timeline for events. Responsible budgeting should mean that future developments should be considered and a best estimate of the funding required should be included in the budget.

 

Councillor Westbrook mentioned the condition of the Town Hall. She felt that  a business proposal was needed to establish the costs associated with the proposed refurbishment. She believed that the Council should decide what could actually be delivered in the forseeable future and focus on that.

 

Councillor Hubbard reminded Councillors that, at present, the budget did not include anything for major projects. The list of proposed projects extended well beyond the next 12 months in terms of the timeframe for completion. To start budgeting for these projects, the Council must continue to put money aside. This would have a minimal effect on the precept but would enable consideration to be given to obtaining a Public Works Board Loan, as the Council would be considered to be credit-worthy. Projects where the price and time line had already been agreed would need to be delivered next year. This expenditure would eradicate the major works pot. For many years, the Town Council has saved £106,000 a year for major projects. In this year’s budget, the £106,000 has been removed effectively demonstrating that the Town Council has stopped saving. He believed that the issue was that the Town Council has told people that they intended to carry out certain projects which they wouldn’t be able to do without a loan. Any lender would want to see that the Town Council could afford to make the repayments due. If £106,000 is removed from the budget, it would suggest that the Town Council couldn’t afford to save this amount. However, the Public Works Board Loan does not look favourably where the precept is increased to meet loan repayments. Passing the budget with £106,000 included would not commit the Council to new projects or taking out a loan, but would increase the Council’s deposit should they decide to take out a loan in the future. However, removing the £106,000 from the budget would restrict the Council’s options for borrowing in the next two years. This represented the difference between a short-term approach and a strategic approach.

 

The Town Clerk advised that she had prepared a spreadsheet detailing the projects proposed by the Town Council and in the light of this, she recommended retaining £106,000 in the budget for major projects.

 

Councillor Westbrook’s opinion was that work wouldn’t start next year on a lot of projects in the budget. She felt that the Town Council was trying to achieve too much and not considering the long-term plan. She mooted the idea of putting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

West Wiltshire Eblag Twinning Association subscription

To consider the continuing payment of the annual subscription.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Hubbard, seconded by Councillor Sankey and

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED to pay the twinning association subscription.