Minutes of the Finance Committee of the Council held on Tuesday 4 November 2014 at 6pm in the Mayor`s Parlour, Town Hall, Abergavenny
Present: Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse (Chair)
Cllrs C Woodhouse, Mrs M Powell, R Harris, Ms S Dodd, M Hickman and P Wadsworth
In attendance: The Town Clerk
1. There were no apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of Interest. Cllr Harris declared an interest in the Action 50+ application and Cllr Hickman declared an interest in the Synergy application.
3. The following grant applications were considered:
a) Rareseed Theatre. Members considered the bid in detail and after some discussion about whether grants should be used for revenue items such as paying tutors, agreed to recommend a grant of £1000 be made.
b) Synergy bid for funding to attract new singers. It was noted that this had been done a couple of years ago with some success. After discussion it was agreed to recommend a grant of £750 towards this project.
c) Action 50+
An application for the purchase of items of equipment was considered. It was agreed that this organisation warrants a grant but there was some confusion about exactly what would be purchased with the money as it seemed to be for different things in different parts of the application. It was agreed that a decision would be deferred to Council where the Clerk would have established some clarity over what is required.
4. Monthly Finance Reports.
The Clerk reported that although a sum of £500 had been included in the budget for Past Mayor`s Medals, this had not been transferred clearly into the computer system. He would correct that. Also members wished to se a division between travel expenses and office expenses but the Clerk did not think he could create additional codes during the financial year, so he would do so at the start of next year. A number of payments have been received which have been allocated to miscellaneous income, and needed to be credited against the codes where the expenditure had been incurred. This would be corrected. The Council had started the year with a total reserve of some £157000 of which some £12500 was allocated reserves and £55000 the minimum reserve. This leaves £89338 as unallocated reserves but it is expected that £30000 of that will go towards the Eisteddfod in 2016, leaving about £60000 which can be used for other purposes. If it were to be used for supporting existing County services the question arises what will happen when it runs out.
Members noted the list of grants and donations that had been distributed over the last few years. It may be that some of the regular items may need to be reduced to accommodate other more important costs.
5. Early budget considerations for 2015/16.
Members received the Clerk`s report setting out an early draft budget for next year. There are a number of issues within it which might need to be discussed before the budget is finalised.
Attention focussed on the situation at County level and the need for further better information on what is likely to happen there. It was agreed that we need clearer information on what County cuts will affect Abergavenny, and the timing of when we set our budget when the County are unlikely to set theirs before March was noted as a problem. It was agreed that the Clerk should seek to collect further more specific information and a meeting of the whole Council should be called to decide on its strategy and any levels of support it might give, together with how to deal with any impact on the Council`s precept for next year. There may be a need to prioritise support areas and to decide where that is given once County se their budget.
6. Appointment of new Councillors
The Clerk made members aware of the number of applicants for the two positions and the process for appointment was agreed. Papers will be circulated to all Councillors with Council papers this week, and candidates will be formally invited to attend for interview at the Special Council Meeting which will take place on 19 November at 7pm in the Council Chamber.
The meeting ended at 7:10pm
Summary of recommendations
1. Rareseed Theatre should be granted £1000.
2. Synergy Choir should be granted £750
3. Further information should be reported to Council to determine how much grant should be given to Action 50+ Group.
4. The Clerk will amend the monthly financial reports to accommodate the changes discussed.
5. Early Budget Considerations were noted but no decisions mae.
6. The appointments procedure was agreed for the two co-opted members.