Minutes of the Finance Committee Meeting held on Thursday 2 April 2015 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.

Present: Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse, (Chair)

Cllrs M J Hickman JP, C Woodhouse, R Harris, Mrs M Powell, Ms S Dodd.

Cllrs Mrs M Harris, J L Prosser, P Woodley and N Tatam were also present.

In attendance: The Town Clerk

  1.  1.        Apologies for absence were received from Cllr P Wadsworth.
  2.  2.        Declarations of interest would be made as and when necessary.
  3.  3.        The following grant applications were considered:
  4.  a)        Abergavenny Food Festival (summer and winter)

Members considered the requests for funding for both festivals. There was some debate about whether the Festival should receive public funds and whether there should be conditions applied to the grant if we make one. It was generally agreed that the Council should continue to be supportive of the Festival but that public acknowledgement of the Council`s support should be required. It was agreed to recommend that 2000 be granted for the September Festival and 1000 for the Winter Event. The preferred items to be supported would be either the Hall Decorations (if they are renewed) or the Night Fair. The Festival organisers would be asked to indicate how they would acknowledge the Council`s support.

  1.  b)        Toy Fair.

Members had already agreed to support the Toy Fair with a grant of 900. This is usually paid out by paying invoices from suppliers directly. When the recent support had been agreed members had asked for the grant form to be completed, and this had now been done. Members expressed satisfaction with this.

  1.  c)        VIG Theatre

A request for 1000 from VIG Theatre was considered. This was acknowledged as a good item to support as it encouraged young people to gain self-confidence and to take part in a group activity. It was agreed to recommend that a grant of 1000 be made and the money should come from the budget element that was set aside for young people`s events.

  1.  d)        Tourist Information Centre.

(Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse declared an interest in this item and left the room during its discussion. Cllr M Hickman took the chair in her absence.)

It was explained that this application had been sought to particularly tease out the element of funding going to the Tithe Barn. Several points were made in addition the TIC supports the area so other communities should also support it. Efforts should be made to get them to do so. The support given by the BBNP was no longer in grant form but support in kind was provided as they administered the funding and held the redundancy fund for staff as well as managing the stocks for the sales element,  It appears that there is some more support for TIC activities by Tithe Barn staff now. The issue of the cost of locating the TIC there in terms of the charge by the Tithe Barn were still not well received as they received some benefit from its presence by increased use of the cafe.

It was agreed that the TIC is important to the town and should receive support from this Council.

It was agreed to recommend that at this stage a grant of 7500 be made towards the costs with the aim of getting other communities to support it as well. The situation should be reviewed in three months. There would be a need to continue discussions about how the service can be continued in future and in discussions with the County about service devolution this should be included. At present this Council should not commit to more than the current year.

  1.  4.        The Clerk noted that we are almost out of Town Plaques. He had made enquiries

about purchasing new from our previous supplier and from another. The previous supplier had increased costs by a significant amount, but the new one was significantly cheaper. Subject to quality of the cheaper item, it was agreed to recommend purchasing 25 from the new supplier.

  1.  5.        Flower boxes for Park Avenue/Fairfield Car Park.

A proposal had been received to join with the Civic Society, and Bryn y Cwm Committee to provide a sum to tidy up the verge of the car park on the Park Avenue side, by planting wild flower seeds for the majority of the length and providing wooden raised beds for the lower end. The total cost would be 900, with a 300 contribution from each. Members agreed to recommend support for this but were concerned about rotation in the raised beds being needed to provide some winter colour as well. The council`s share would be paid from the Abergavenny in Bloom budget.

  1.  6.        Cllr Woodley sought the Chair`s permission to raise an issue. He asked if Council

should be requested to support a scheme to provide each member with a small sum to give local grants within his/her ward. Members are aware that this happens in other areas, but there were concerns raised about transparency and audit trail for the money. It was also observed that the Projects Fund was set up to give members an opportunity to suggest projects so this is already in existence in a slightly different form. After some discussion it was agreed to stay with the present system, but some further investigation of whether other councils have a separate scheme for small grants would be carried out. This would be carried forward to the next Budget Committee in January 2016.

  1.  7.        Cllr Dodd returned the cheque for 50 which had been given to Keep Abergavenny

Tidy as their insurance had been paid from another source.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6:55pm

Summary of recommendations

1. A grant of 2000 be made to the September Food Festival and 1000 to the Winter Festival, with conditions as stated above.

2. The grant of 900 for the Toy Fair be confirmed following receipt of the grant application form.

3. A grant of 1000 be made to VIG Theatre.

4. A grant of 7500 be made to the Tourist Information Centre with the conditions shown above.

5. A further 25 Town Plaques be ordered subject to the provisos shown above.

6. A grant of 300 be agreed for planters along the Fairfield Car Park boundary with Park Avenue.

7. The opportunity for Councillors to bid for projects be kept as at present but a possible alternative small grants scheme be considered at the next Budget Meting in January 2016.

8. The returned cheque from Keep Abergavenny Tidy be noted.