Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 at 7pm in the Mayorís Parlour.
Cllr P Simcock (Chair)
Cllr N Tatam
Cllr D Simcock
Cllr T Davies
Cllr L Van de Vyver
Cllr G Jones
In attendance: Jane Lee (Town Clerk)
Cllr P Simcock asked for agreement to move item 5 on the agenda (to consider the draft budget and precept for 2019/20) to be the last item on the agenda. All agreed.
- Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr S Dodd
- Declarations of interest
To be declared during the meeting
- Additional expenditure in 2018/19
The report setting out additional spend in 2018/19 was considered and Finance Committee recommend that the following additional items of spend are approved, proposed by Cllr P Simcock, seconded Cllr Davies, all agreed:
- £700 towards new litter bins for Phase 2 Public Realm works.
- £800 for a new desk top PC for the Admin Assistant.
- £50 for a new desk chair for the Admin Assistant.
- £152 for two stainless steel 3 litre flasks for hot water.
- £139 for a table top display board.
- £70 for two pop up banners to use at events.
- Partnership funding as part of pilot with Abergavenny Community Centre circa £25,000.
- £250 for winter/spring plants for the Phase 1 planters
- £300 for books on Inspirational Women for Abergavenny Library
Finance Committee were also requested to approve the changes and necessary budgetary virements from the budget headings approved in January 2018 to the new format which has been used in the finance reports over the last few months. Proposed by Cllr P Simcock, seconded Cllr Tatam, all agreed.
- Increase in Admin Assistant hours
The Committee considered a report requesting a permanent increase in the Admin Assistant hours to 12 hours a week commencing 1st April 2019 and that the hourly rate of pay is increased to £9.341 again commencing 1st April 2019. This would be at a cost of £1942.98 a year.
Cllr Tatam proposed that this is recommended to Council, seconded by Cllr Davies all agreed.
The Committee were also requested to consider whether the Admin Assistant post should be pensionable. Cllr Tatam expressed concern that this could set a precedent for future employees which could have significant financial implications. Others were of the view that as a good employer, the Town Council should offer a pension. This would be an additional £1484.08 a year.
Cllr P Simcock proposed and Cllr Jones seconded that the Admin Assistant should be offered the opportunity to join the contributory pension scheme, 5 voted in favour, one against, vote carried.
- Year End Closedown Support
The Finance Committee considered a recommendation to engage RBS (financial software provider) to carry out the year end closedown at a cost of £540 plus expenses. This proposal is for 2018/19 not an ongoing commitment.
Cllr P Simcock proposed and Cllr D Simcock seconded, all agreed.
- Extension of the Willows Garden Centre contract
Willows Garden Centre currently provide the Town Council funded floral displays in the town which includes watering for 16 weeks during the summer. 2018 was the last year of the current contract and the Town Council has received a proposal from Willows Garden Centre for a two year extension to the contract for the same price of £9158 a year with the inclusion of watering of the 12 planters on St Johnís Square and Nevill Street.
Finance Committee considered this to be a good offer and noted that the in the past it has been difficult to attract new contractors for this work. Cllr Davies proposed and Cllr Tatam seconded that Council approves a waiver to financial regulations to enable a two year extension to the contract with Willows Garden Centre, all agreed.
- Draft 2019/20 Budget
The report setting out the draft 2019/20 budget was considered in detail. The Chair informed the Committee that both MCC and the Police & Crime Commissioner are increasing their precept.
The report set out a draft budget against a number of headings, these were discussed individually.
During discussions, the following points were noted:
- Food Festival budget line includes the Market Hall decorations
- Sponsorship of External Events budget line could include events such as the Cycling Festival, Arts Festival, Carnival and more detail will be set out in a report to the Finance Committee in March following discussions with the different event organisers.
- Spring/Summer Events to consider more youth focused events.
- Small Grants Scheme reduced as some of the budget moved to Sponsorship of External Events and Abergavenny in Bloom
- Refurbishment to the Mayoral chain estimated to be £1,200 to be considered by Artefacts Committee and if agreed would be an item for expenditure from reserves. Consort chain to also be considered.
- Partnership Funding includes £12,000 for Abergavenny CAB
- Abergavenny in Bloom Ė requires clarification of what would be included in this budget heading
- Summer playscheme to increase by £5,000 to £17,000. Mike Moran to be asked to scope out how additional £5,000 could be used to attract more FSM recipients onto the playscheme
- Project Fund is mainly for projects identified by Councillors
- Tourist Information Centre £10,000 is a contribution to the costs of providing a TIC in Abergavenny. The visitabergavenny brochure was funded as a small grant.
- Cllr Tatam suggested that precept figure is rounded up to £380,000 or even £400,000 and that the budget then aligns to this figure.
Given the above, the proposed budget totals £378,651 however, there are two further months of discussions with partners before a further report is considered in the March Finance Committee and the budget set in March. These discussions provide a good indication of the budget to allow the precept to be set.
Cllr P Simcock proposed and Cllr Jones seconded that the precept is increased by 2% to £374,233
Cllr Jones proposed and Cllr P Simcock proposed that £20,000 of reserves is earmarked for the Toilet Modernisation Programme in 2019/20
- Any Other Business
|That the following additional items of spend in 2018/19 are approved: £700 towards new litter bins for Phase 2 Public Realm works. £800 for a new desk top PC for the Admin Assistant. £50 for a new desk chair for the Admin Assistant. £152 for two stainless steel 3 litre flasks for hot water. £139 for a table top display board. £70 for two pop up banners to use at events. Partnership funding as part of pilot with Abergavenny Community Centre circa £25,000. £250 for winter/spring plants for the Phase 1 planters £300 for books on Inspirational Women for Abergavenny Library
|That the new budget headings (and necessary virements) are agreed. The budget headings are the ones currently being used in the Council Finance reports (Income & Expenditure) but differ from the budget headings approved at the time of the budget setting in January 2018.
|That the Admin Assistant hours are permanently increased to 12 hours a week commencing 1st April 2019 and that the hourly rate of pay is increased to £9.341 again commencing 1st April 2019. This would be at a cost of £1942.98 a year.
|That the Admin Assistant should be offered the opportunity to join the contributory pension scheme. This would cost the Council an additional £1484.08 in addition to increased costs above.
|That RBS (financial software provider) is engaged to carry out the year end closedown at a cost of £540 plus expenses.
|That Council approves a waiver to financial regulations to enable a two year extension to the contract with Willows Garden Centre at the same cost but with the addition of watering of the 12 planters in St Johnís Square and Nevill Street.
|That the precept is increased by 2% to £374,233
|That £20,000 of reserves is earmarked for the Toilet Modernisation Programme in 2019/20
The meeting closed at 8.40pm