Minutes of the Finance Committee held on Wednesday 6 January 2016 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.

Present: Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse (Chair)

Cllrs C Woodhouse, Mrs M Powell, M Hickman, Ms S Dodd, R Harris, D Simcock, S Horrell

In attendance: The Town Clerk

1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllr J Prosser.

2. Declarations of interest were received from Cllr Simcock who took no part in that decision.

3. The following Grant Applications were considered;

a) Melville Theatre

A request had been received for a grant of up to 4164 to meet priorities 1 and 2 in the work that they wish to carry out. They have already raised 1370 towards the works. There was a discussion about it being a listed building and whether planning approval is needed to carry out the works. Also, does Monmouthshire CC have any obligation on works such as this.

It was agreed in principle that a grant of 2000 could be recommended to provide carpets, hire of a platform, cafe bar refurbishment and 8 demountable tables and chairs, subject to the planning issue being cleared up.

b) Linda Vista Gardens

Members considered the original estimate for the works needed in Linda Vista and a quote from an outside contractor. It was evident that the MCC quote was based on minimal work to make safe, whereas the contractor had quoted for renewing areas which were damaged. It was agreed to recommend that the MCC quote be agreed and a grant for that amount (2792).

The estimates for removal of conifers by the building was noted and it was agreed to urge MCC to find the money to do the removal on safety grounds.

4. Consideration of whether all grant applications should be considered once a year.

It was agreed that the principle of dealing with grants once a year was sound, but it would be difficult to move from the present system of considering requests when they come in to once a year. It was therefore agreed to move to quarterly consideration of applications at this stage with the objective of moving to once a year next year (2017/18). It was recognised that it may be necessary to hold back some money to deal with any urgent items that are presented to the Council.

The new arrangements would be publicised in the Chronicle, on the website, and by e-mail to the regular recipients.

5. Budget for 2016/17

The multiplier figure had changed from 4767 to 4807 due to there being more houses built, and this meant that if we had the same precept as last year the band D figure would reduce from 53.70 to 53.26 per annum for the Town Council`s cost. The Town Clerk told members of a meeting on the previous evening of the North Monmouthshire Liaison Committee which had decided to write to MCC to say that until they provide costs and details of services to be removed in each Community area, we would not be able to set our precepts. It was agreed that we would not progress budget matters at this meeting but that we were in a reasonable position, having discussed things before, to set a precept when MCC provide the information. the Chair asked if the Clerk could provide information on the contributions to the school sports event in the summer.

6. Budget Reports for December 2015.

The draft reports were received. The Clerk notified members that due to an invoice from MCC having been charged with VAT and then corrected, we had claimed too much  VAT so that this quarter we may have to pay VAT back. He is awaiting a letter from HMRC to deal with it. This was noted.

7. Any Other Business.

a) A request for another dog bin on the Pen y Fal Estate was noted. It was agreed that Cllr Mrs Powell would speak to Mr Prys Williams before a decision is made.

b) Cllr Dodd circulated a copy of the new ADTA Tourist Guide which as a cover by Mumph, the well-known cartoonist. She noted that ADTA have a fairly healthy balance sheet at present and may not seek funding this year. They have also committed to making up the expected shortfall on the TIC for the year. This as noted, and it was agreed that any future grant requests would be considered sympathetically.

The meeting ended at 6:50pm

Summary of recommendations

1. That a grant of 2000 be paid to Melville Theatre for specified items subject to there being no planning issues to resolve.

2. That a grant of 2792 be made to Linda Vista Gardens to carry out the maintenance work.

3. We should move towards once a year grants by having a quarterly consideration for 2016/17 and suitable publicity to move to once a year in the following year.

4. Further consideration of the Budget should be deferred until the February meeting.

5. The Budget Reports for December 2015 were received.

6. Cllr Mrs Powell would look at the dog bin request.

7. The position regarding ADTA and grants be noted