| ||APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE||APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE|
Councillor N Bennett, Councillor J Bosnjak, Councillor J Kerr, Councillor B Lohan
|12/01||DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST||DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST|
No declarations of interest were made.
|12/02||PORTFOLIO HOLDER FOR RESOURCES – RESPONSE TO SELECT COMMISSION 3 BUDGET REPORT||PORTFOLIO HOLDER FOR RESOURCES – RESPONSE TO SELECT COMMISSION 3 BUDGET REPORT|
The Portfolio Holder for Resources presented a written response (attached) on behalf of Cabinet to Select Commission 3’s budget report (also attached). The response explained Cabinet’s proposed budget on 16 January 2012 to submit to Council in light of each recommendation made by Select Commission 3.
Members were advised that the written response was in agreement of all the recommendations put forward by Select Commission 3, with the exception of withdrawing the proposed £70,000 Ward Democracy budget in 2012/13 and raising the Council’s proportion of Council Tax by 2.5% in 2012/13.
The Portfolio Holder for Resources explained to members that, after the written response was published, Cabinet decided at their subsequent 16 January 2012 meeting to accept the proposal to withdraw Ward Democracy, but would not accept the proposal to raise the Council Tax by 2.5%. The Portfolio Holder advised members that to both introduce an annual £25 per property charge for garden waste bins (as was also being proposed) and raise Council Tax by 2.5% was considered by Cabinet as too much of a burden on local people.
Members were informed that the proposed Ward Democracy budget would instead be recommended to go towards the existing Economic Stimulus Fund to strengthen the Council’s reaction to events in the national and world economy. The Stimulus Fund would also be used to support Select Commission 3’s proposed apprenticeship scheme.
The Portfolio Holder for Resources also advised that Cabinet supported the Select Commission 3 recommendation for a provision to be made in the General Fund and Capital Programme to enable Meden Sports Centre to remain open whilst options on the future of the facility were considered. The Portfolio Holder advised that alternative options would need to be investigated by members in the coming months, since the Council was not in a financial position to subsidise to facility indefinitely.
Members were concerned whether the proposal to introduce monthly collections for garden waste in November, December, January and February would be a good use of resources. Members felt that only a small amount of residents would produce garden waste during those months. The Portfolio Holder advised that the added monthly collections could be trialled first to see what usage would be.
Members were also concerned that in not choosing to increase Council Tax for this financial year, more savings would need to be found for the next financial year. The Portfolio Holder for Resources assured members that Cabinet were aware of the need to make the budget ‘leaner’ each year, but stressed that raising Council Tax should be seen as a last resort.
The Portfolio Holder for Resources was thanked for attending and contributing.
Report to Select Commission 3
Appendix 1 (SC3 Budget Report)
Appendix 2 (Response of Portfolio Holder for Resources)
(i) That the written response to Select Commission 3’s budget report by the Portfolio Holder for Resources be noted.
(ii) That the budget proposed by Cabinet on 16 January 2012, and the changes made after publication of the written response, be noted.
|12/03||DEBRIEF ON BUDGET SCRUTINY PROCESS||DEBRIEF ON BUDGET SCRUTINY PROCESS|
The Chair explained to members that a debrief of the budget scrutiny process would be carried out in an effort to improve the process for next time. Members agreed for the Chair and Vice-Chair to meet with Financial Services officers over the coming weeks to discuss improvements for the next scrutiny process, and that suggestions emanating from this meeting should be fed back to Select Commission 3 for approval.
Members suggested that more budget scrutiny meetings could be booked in advance to avoid arranging additional meetings at short notice at the end of the process. Members also suggested that the Select Commission 3 meeting to receive the written response from the Portfolio Holder for Resources should take place before the Cabinet meeting to propose the budget to Council rather than after it, to allow Select Commission 3 to respond to the feedback directly.
Members thanked the Head of Finance, Property and Revenue Services, the Financial Services Manager and all Financial Services officers for their hard work in supporting the budget scrutiny process.
(i) That the Chair and Vice-Chair meet with Financial Services and Democratic Services officers to discuss improvements for the next budget scrutiny process, and the suggestions emanating from this meeting be fed back to Select Commission 3 for approval.
(ii) That more Select Commission 3 meetings are booked in advance to avoid arranging additional meetings at short notice at the end of the next budget scrutiny process.
(iii) That the Select Commission 3 meeting to receive the written response from the Portfolio Holder for Resources should take place before the Cabinet meeting to propose the budget to Council rather than after it, to allow Select Commission 3 to respond to the feedback directly.
|12/04||TIMES OF FUTURE MEETINGS||TIMES OF FUTURE MEETINGS|
The Chair requested that members agree a set time for all future Select Commission 3 meetings. Members agreed for all future Select Commission 3 meetings to begin at 5.30pm.
|AGREED – That all future Select Commission 3 meetings begin at 5.30pm.