Minutes of the Finance Committee held on Wednesday 3 January 2018 at 6pm in the Mayor`s Parlour, Town Hall, Abergavenny.
Present: Cllr S Head (Chairman)
Cllrs D Simcock, Mrs P Simcock, N Tatam, F Morgan.
In attendance: Cllr L Van de Vyver and P Johns (acting Town Clerk)
1. A question was raised whether Cllr Ms S Dodd was a member of this Committee. Here name had not been included in the original list in May, although she believed she had been nominated. It was agreed that this needed resolving at Council next week.
2. Apologies for absence were noted for Cllrs G Jones and Mrs T Davies.
3. Cllr Morgan declared an interest in the Arts Festival Grant application as a Trustee. He left the room when it was discussed.
4. Community Grants.
a) An application from Homestart for a grant of £720 was considered. It was noted that grants had been made in previous years and the request was supported. It was agreed to recommend a grant of £720 be made and feedback on its effect be requested.
It was also recommended that the grant form should make it very clear that a report was needed and that the Clerk should compile a report of the feedback received to be presented by the Chair of this Committee at the end of the year.
b) Youth Service. An application for a grant of £1000 in two sections was considered. There were reservations about this as the Abergavenny Youth Club had closed so it is quite difficult to establish how many young people from Abergavenny would benefit from the proposed grant. It was agreed to recommend that £360 be granted as a one-off grant to support the visit to London but that Youth Service representatives should be invited to a Projects Meeting to discuss the service as it relates to Abergavenny particularly how outreach is managed and whether the service is targeted at young people in receipt of free school meals.
c) Arts Festival.
This application was considered as the grant is requested in two parts and there are several issues to be considered. It was noted that at present the Festival does not have a Bank account and there was no detail of how the money would be spent if granted. After some discussion it was agreed to recommend that it be supported in principle to grant the first £2500 of the £5000 requested, and if detailed costings and evidence of a bank account are produced before the Council on 10 January, it would be recommended for payment. The remaining grant request would be the subject of further discussion.
d) Regarding the further issues in the Clerk`s report, members agreed that the Grant and Guidance forms should be reviewed, that the Clerk should scrutinise incoming grant applications for completeness before referring them to Committee, but they were not content to reduce the material made available to the Committee which could impact on the responsibility of Councillors to make informed decisions or to reduce the frequency of meetings at which grants could be considered. This would require further consideration.
5. Budget for 2018/19
The Clerk`s Report on the draft budget was considered in detail and the following points were raised:
– Was it required to implement the Remuneration Panel`s Report or is this discretionary? This would be checked as it would cause the Mayoral Allowance to be significantly reduced. It would still be possible to enhance t if the Mayor is also Chair of other Committees.
– The limit on S137 spending was noted as some £59,000 which is considerably more than the £30,600 in the budget.
– An additional £2000 could be needed for World War I Armistice celebrations and Votes for Women Anniversary which both fall in the financial year.
– Summer Playscheme budget is recommended to be increased by £4000 to provide additional staff support workers and an additional 18 places on the Scheme, subject to this being achievable.
– no addition to the existing £5000 Cycling Festival budget would be made and the organisers would be required to pay their own invoices in future.
– it was anticipated that further projects would be identified during the Financial Year, and it is proposed to make provision for these in the budget. A further £60,000 would be added to the Projects Budget to cover this.
– the requests for support funding from the Bailey Park Project (£30,000), and the Castle Project (£30,000), would be covered by ear-marking £60,000 of the Council`s reserves.
– the Community Service toilets budget would be stopped as the Council planned to retain existing Public Toilets, saving £2500 from the total budget.
– these alterations mean that the budget proposed in the report is now effectively £1500 higher (see attachment) . There are three ways to deal with this :
-take the additional £1500 from reserves
– take the additional £1500 from the Projects Fund or
– add £1500 to the total precept which will increase it by that small amount.
– it was agreed to recommend Option 1 in the Clerk`s Report, and subject to the decision above, the precept can be decided. The Band D Council Tax would be either £74.99 or £75.30 depending on the decision above.
6. Barclays Bank Authorisation.
It was agreed to recommend that the Town Clerk is authorised to act on behalf of the Council and for two signatories to sign the appropriate form to be returned to the Bank.
7. Local Government Pension Scheme requirements.
It was agreed to recommend that the Chair of Finance Committee be appointed as Adjudicator and the Clerk as Scheme Administrator for the purposes of dealing with staff pensions via the Torfaen Pension Scheme.
There being no other business the meeting ended at 7:35pm
Summary of Recommendations
1. A grant of £720 be made to Homestart and a report on its use be requested.
2. A Grant of £360 be made to the Youth Service together with a request that representatives meet the Council at a Projects Committee to discuss the operation of the service in Abergavenny.
3. A grant of £2500 be agreed in principle to the Abergavenny Arts Festival subject to them showing evidence of a Bank Account and details of what the money would be spent on. A further grant would be subject to further discussion.
4. The suggestions of the Clerk to revise the Grant Application Forms and Procedures be agreed in part as set out above.
5. A precept of £365396 be set subject to any final amendments to be made at Council.
6. The Clerk be authorised to act on behalf of the Council and two signatories sign the appropriate form.
7. The Chair of Finance be appointed as the Adjudicator and the Clerk as Pensions Administrator in relation to the Torfaen Staff Pension Scheme.