Town Council Meeting 16th January 2015
Meeting of Stapleford Town Council
Friday 16th January 2015 at 7.00p.m.
In the Carnegie Centre, Warren Avenue, Stapleford, Notts.
1 Apologies for absence
(The Town Clerk will report any apologies for absence she has received in writing prior to the start of the meeting.)
2 Declarations of interest
(Members will be invited to declare any interests they may have on any item to be discussed at the meeting. They will also be advised that should it become apparent to any Member during the meeting that they do have an interest in a particular item they should alert the Chair and the Town Clerk immediately.)
3 Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 5th December 2014 Document 1
4 Minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee Meeting Document 2
held on 28th November 2014
5 Requests(s) made by any member of the public to address the Town Council
Please note Members of the public wishing to address the Town Council should contact the Town Clerk at least two days prior to the date of the Meeting.
6 Town Mayor’s Engagements Document 3
7 Requests For Dispensations.
(The Localism Act 2011 removes the automatic dispensations for local councillors to discuss the setting of budgets. Members who are resident in Stapleford who wish to discuss the setting of the budget and annual precept should declare their intention at this point in the Meeting. Likewise any Member, who is in receipt of a Civic Allowance, represents the Town Council in a Civic capacity or who may do so during the municipal year 2014/15 and wishes to discuss items referring to Civic matters should also request a dispensation at this point in the Meeting.)
8 Budget Report/Precept Report Document 4
(The Town Clerk will present her report regarding Town Council expenditure. This report has been discussed in draft form by the Finance and General Purposes Committee and that Committee’s comments have been incorporated into this report.
(The Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee will present his report with regard to setting the Budget for 2014/2015.)
Broxtowe Borough Council : Invitation to mark the 15th Holocaust Memorial Day, Walled Garden at Bramcote Park, on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 10.50a.m.
Broxtowe Borough Council: Invitation to join the Mayor of Broxtowe at the Spring Into Summer Charity Ball and Civic Night on Saturday, 28th March 2015. (Please note tickets cost: £32.00 each and should be booked direct by contacting email@example.com)
11 Payments (To follow) Document 5
12 Date of Next Meeting. The next Meeting of Stapleford Town Council will be held on 27th February 2015.
Town Council Meeting
held on 5th December 2014
Mrs A Aderogba Mrs H Grindell D J Pearson
R H Darby Mrs A Hull R MacRae
D Grindell J Longdon Mrs J Williams
87/2015 Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors: Ms C Bartliff, Mrs T Foster, S Heptinstall, J McGrath, K Thomas and B Wombwell.
88/2015 Declarations of interest
Councillors: Darby, Mrs A Hull and Mrs J Williams declared a non-pecuniary interest regarding the Town Council Allotments.
Councillors: R Darby, D Grindell, and Mrs J Williams, declared an interest regarding any matter relating to Broxtowe Borough Council by dint of their status as serving Councillors on Broxtowe Borough Council. It was further noted that Cllr D Grindell had a particular interest in item 11 Planning Applications as Chair of the Development Control Committee at Broxtowe Borough Council.
Councillor Mrs J Williams declared an interest regarding any matter relating to Nottinghamshire County Council by dint of her status as serving Councillor on Nottinghamshire County Council.
Councillor R MacRae declared an interest in item 7 Town Centre Team.
Councillor R MacRae later declared an interest in item 11Planning Applications as he was a member of the Housing Review Panel.
89/2015 Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 28th October 2014
The Minutes of the Rescheduled Town Council Meeting held on 28th October 2014 were approved and signed by the Deputy Town Mayor.
90/2015 Request(s) made by any member of the public to address the Town Council
The Town Clerk reported that she had received no requests to address the meeting.
91/2015 Mayor’s Engagements
The Town Clerk particular wanted to thank her team who had assisted her at the Remembrance Services, particularly volunteers, Dr B Laverty, Mr J Laverty, 1360 ATC, Stapleford Scouts and the local clergy.
Further, she commented on the Village Venture production, Richard Durant’s Candle Lit Concert on 4th December 2014, thanking St Helen’s Parish Church for allowing her to utilise the beautiful church for the performance and Dr B Laverty, Mr J Laverty for assistance at this event.
The Deputy Town Mayor reported that he had attended a number of events and drew the Meetings attention to the Remembrance Services, 1360 ATC Dinning In Night, Christmas Lights Switch on and the Candle Lit Concert.
Members were urged to support the next Village Ventures Event, Fordante, and reminded them of the Coffee Morning being hosted by the Deputy Town Mayor, on 12th December 2014 in aid of the Mayor of Broxtowe’s Charities. The Meeting was asked to note that the Engagements Calendar is being added to on a daily basis as invitations are received.
Councillors: Darby, Mrs A Hull and Mrs J Williams declared an interest in the following item.
The Town Clerk reported that a full report regarding the Town Council’s allotment sites had been presented to the Finance and General Purpose Committee during its Meeting to discuss the budget for 2015/16.
No recommendation had been made to increase plot rental in 2016/17.
This report was noted.
93/2015 Town Centre Team (TCT)
It was noted that the Christmas Lights Switch On had taken place and been deemed a success.
Councillor D Grindell reported that he had attended the last meeting of the TCT and that a Meeting was scheduled to be held in January to plan for future events.
Councillor Mrs Williams was pleased with the success of the Christmas event and progress to date of this initiative. Councillor MacRae was asked for an update of the Town Centre Window Competition he was involved with. However, Councillor MacRae informed the Meeting that this project did not involve the TCT and he had nothing he wished to report to the Town Council.
94/2015 Neighbourhood Plan
The Town Clerk reported that the consultation period regarding the first phase of this process was now complete. A report would be made to Broxtowe Borough Council in the new year and it was considered unlikely that progress will be made on this matter until after the local elections in May 2015.
It was noted a number of Town Councillors, together with the Town Clerk, would be attending a workshop on Neighbourhood Planning later this month and that a full report would be made to a future Meeting regarding this matter.
95/2015 Stapleford Matters
The Town Clerk informed the Meeting that she had received notification of proposed parking restrictions within the Town. This was the initial stage of consultation and Nottinghamshire County Council would be returning for comment on further proposals in the new year.
It was noted that Councillor Heptinstall led on this area of interest and was pursuing it through the Traffic and Transport Working Party.
Following discussion the Town Clerk was asked to write to Nottinghamshire County Council expressing the Town Councils concerns regarding the proposed restrictions on Pinfold Lane. It was also picked up that alterations to the restrictions on Warren Avenue at its junction with Derby Road, were urgently required.
Councillor MacRae raised the issue of problems on Hicking’s Lane regarding the Garage at this locale. Councillor Mrs Williams was aware of this matter and the complaints had been passed to local police for investigation and Nottinghamshire County Council was also looking into the problem.
It was agreed that the Town Clerk would maintain this item on the Agenda.
The Helpful Bureau: Annual report 2013-14. – This item was noted.
Nottingham Hospitals Charity: Acknowledgement of donation to Breast Research Appeal Fund. –
This item was noted.
Councillors D Grindell (Chair of Development Control Committee at Broxtowe Borough Council) and Mrs J Williams (as a Broxtowe Borough Councillor she had been privy to the consideration of the proposed project), declared an interest in the following item and did not vote.
Councillor R MacRae declared an interest during discussion of the application as he realised he was a member of a housing review panel at Broxtowe Borough Council which had discussed this possible application.
97/2015 Planning Applications
Construct 8 N° Flats on site of garages adjacent to 82, Ryecroft Street and Scout Hall Welch Avenue.
Members were generally enthusiastic regarding his proposed development. However, Councillor MacRae raised the matter of the loss of garages for rent. Councillor Mrs Williams raised a point of order, questioning whether or not Councillor MacRae was a member of the Housing Review Panel as this Panel had previously discussed this item at great length. It was established that Councillor MacRae was a Member of this Panel.
Following discussion it was agreed to support this application.
Construct single storey front and side extension, 159 Ewe Lamb Lane
Following discussion it was agreed to support this application.
Change of use of existing church (Class D1) to 8 N° Flats (C3), the Haven Church Anthill Street.
The Town Clerk asked the Meeting to note that she had not received notification of this application prior to the despatch of the Agenda for this Meeting and had picked up the application from another source. It was noted that the Meeting should consider the planning issues relating to this application and not the organisation making the application.
Following discussion of the application Members were keen to see this property developed for housing purposes. However, they asked Broxtowe Borough Council to investigate thoroughly the need for sufficient parking at the proposed development and the need to ensure that the development met the needs of both the local area and user groups.
It was noted that Councillor J McGrath had asked for this application to be considered at a full Meeting of the Development Control Committee and had a number of issues he wished to raise in relation to this application.
Following discussion the Meeting agreed to support this application as it was keen to see the property developed for housing provision.
98/2015 Items For Future Agenda
No items were requested.
Payments were noted.
100/2015 Date of next meeting
The next Meeting of Stapleford Town Council was scheduled to be held on Friday, 16th
January 2015. It was further noted that a Special Meeting of the Planning and Environment
Committee would be held on 9th January 2015 at 6.00p.m.
The Town Clerk wished all present the best wishes for the Festive Season and invited all present
to join the Deputy Town Mayor for sherry and mince pies in the main hall.
The Meeting closed at 7.50p.m.
Stapleford Town Council
Minutes of the Finance & General Purposes Committee
held on Friday, 28th November 2014
Councillors: A Aderogba, R Darby, D Grindell, Mrs H Grindell, J Longdon, Mrs I White,
Mrs J Williams
Also present: Councillors: R MacRae and D Pearson
F12/2015 Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs C Bartliff and K Thomas.
There were no substitutions.
F14/2015 Declarations of Interest
Councillors: R Darby, D Grindell, Mrs I White, and Mrs J Williams declared an interest in any item relating to Broxtowe Borough Council as serving Members of that authority.
Councillor: Mrs J Williams declared an interest in any item relating to Nottinghamshire County Council as a serving Member of that authority.
Councillors: Darby, Hull and Mrs Williams declared an interest in discussion relating to the Town Council’s Allotment sites.
Councillor: D Grindell declared an interest in discussion relating to the Hemlock Happening.
Councillor: D Grindell declared an interest in discussion relating to the Stapleford Carnival.
F15/2015 Dispensation to Take Part in Discussion and Decision of the Budget and Precept for Stapleford Town Council 2014/15.
It was noted that the Localism Act 2011 had repealed the general dispensation permitting any Councillor with an interest to take part in meetings relating to the setting of the Councils, of which they were a Member, precept and budgeting process. Any Councillor, who was, a council taxpayer in Stapleford, and wishes to take part in setting the precept, needed to declare a Pecuniary Interest and request a dispensation.
Likewise any Councillor in receipt of a Civic Allowance who intended to put themselves forward as a candidate for the Office of Town Mayor or Deputy Town Mayor, should also declare a Pecuniary Interest when discussing Civic Events and Expenses. As should any Councillor holding Civic Office in the 2014/15 or taking part in activities as a Past Town Mayor.
The following Councillors requested a dispensation to be part of the discussion of the budgeting process: A Aderogba, R Darby, D Grindell, Mrs H Grindell, J Longdon, R MacRae, D Pearson, Mrs I White and Mrs J Williams
The following Councillors requested a dispensation to be part of the discussion relating to Civic Events and Expenses: R Darby, D Grindell and J Longdon.
The Town Clerk reported that she had received no requests to address the meeting.
F17/ 2015 Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee
held on 6th June 2014
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee held on 6th June
2014 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
F18/ 2015 Allotments Report
The Meeting considered a report of the Town Clerk relating to the management of the Town Council’s
allotment sites. Following discussion it was agreed that:
- No increase would be made to the cost of rents or water charges for allotment plots in the financial year 2016/17. (Rents would rise, as agreed by the Town Council at its Meeting in February 2014, by 1pence per square yard for the year 2015/16.)
- In future the rental charges would be set at multiples of 1pence per square metre.
- Allow extended working hours to facilitate the collection of allotment rents during the first week in February 2015.
To note this report.
F19/ 2015 Budget Report and Precept
The Committee considered a draft budget report prepared by the Town Clerk. Following discussion the Town Clerk was instructed to incorporate the recommendations and amendments of this Committee to be reported to the Town Council Meeting on 16th January 2015 when the final decisions on the budget would be taken.
Members further considered the proposals for the allocation of funds as drawn up by the Chair of the Committee and fully discussed the proposed allocations to be considered at the Meeting of the Town Council to be held on 15th January 2015. Members noted that these figures were an indication only of proposed expenditure.
Further information was awaited from Broxtowe Borough Council relating to what if any grant may be awarded to the Town Council as part of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for the financial year 2015/16. It was noted that final calculations would be based on the expenditure up to and including the 31st December 2014.
The Committee considered a draft precept report prepared by the Town Clerk. Following discussion the Committee made no recommendation to the Town Council regarding the setting of the precept as it felt unable to do so without the information relating to Local Council Tax Support Scheme. Town Clerk was instructed to incorporate the recommendations of this Committee to be reported to the Town Council at its meeting on 16th January 2015 when the final decision on the precept would be taken.
This item engendered considerable discussion on many aspects of expenditure. The Town Clerk wished it to be noted that the Town Clerk endeavoured at all times to manage the Town Council budget as efficiently as possible within the constraints imposed upon her by the relevant legislation and finance available and would continue to look for savings within projects/events were possible to achieve value for money.
Payments were noted.
F21/2013 Date of next meeting
The date of the next meeting would be held on 20th March 2015 if required.
Meeting closed at 8.30p.m.
Signed ………………………………………. Date ……………………………………….
STAPLEFORD TOWN COUNCIL
|Sunday, 14th December @ 3.00p.m.||Treetops Hospice Light Up a Life Appeal
|Deputy Town Mayor & Escort|
|Thursday 18th December @
St Helens Church Hall
|Deputy Town Mayor|
|Thursday, 22nd January @ 7.15p.m. for 7.30p.m.||From Strauss to the Music & More – Fordante
St Helen’s Parish Church
|Town Mayor & Escort|
|Tuesday, 27th January @ 10.50a.m.||15th Holocaust Remembrance Service
|Town Mayor & Escort|
|Sunday, 15th February @9.45a.m. for 10.00a.m.||Town Council, Civic Service
Salvation Army Citadel
|Town Mayor & Escort|
|Thursday 26th February @ 7.15p.m. for 7.30p.m.||Bard Heads
St Helen’s Parish Church
|Saturday, 28th March @ 7.00p.m. for 7.30p.m.||Spring Into Summer Charity Ball and Civic Night
The Nottingham Belfry
|Town Mayor & Escort|
|Thursday, 16th April @ 7.00p.m.||Chair of NCC Charity Dinner
The Banyan Tree, Redhill
|Town Mayor & Escort|
DRAFT BUDGET/PRECEPT REPORT
Report of the Town Clerk
The Town Council is required to set a budget for the coming municipal year 2015/2016 in order that the necessary steps can be undertaken to secure the Town Council’s precept for that year. It has been traditional for a report to be presented to the Finance and General Purposes Committee and this I have prepared in conjunction with the budget arrangements. The figures quoted are those which will be available up to and including the end of October 2014.
The Finance & General Purposes Committee will fully discuss this document together with other items relevant to the setting of the budget for the financial year 2015/2016. Please note the figures quoted at the January 2015 Meeting of the Town Council will be up to 31st December 2014 and include the Comments from this Meeting.
As reported last year I have prepared this report in line with the financial regulations that came into being in 1997/98. As per this legislation I am obliged to take as my base figure for the year the full precept figure as received from Broxtowe Borough Council in April 2014. I have examined the Town Council’s costs and detailed items, projects, repairs, etc. that need to be prioritised.
I have been instructed by both the Leader of the Town Council and the Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee to look for savings where possible and also to make savings within the current financial year as appropriate.
The Town Council’s main source of income is its precept, which is drawn from the Council Charge levied on properties within the town, together with the grant element awarded to the Town council by Broxtowe Borough Council. A limited income is derived from letting premises to both voluntary and commercial organisations. Other small amounts of income are derived from hanging baskets (all monies received are used towards the purchase of the baskets) and the Allotments (all monies derived from the renting of allotment plots must be spent directly on or for the good of the Town’s allotment sites.)
Town Council expenditure is predominantly split between the cost of maintaining the Carnegie Centre, the allotments, providing a service to the electors and ensuring that Civic Initiatives such as sponsorship of the Village Venture Scheme, Christmas and summer activities and hanging baskets continue to be available to the community. Thus the more active the Town Council is, the greater the expenditure over the financial year will be.
Many organisations identify the Town Council as a main source of sponsorship in the Town and also as an information point. The majority of Council costs are fixed costs, which are determined by external agencies, for example, the cost of utilities, etc.
Monies are held by the Town Council in the Nottinghamshire Building Society. This forms the reserves and thus the contingency. From this fund the Town Council is able to draw to cover such costs as, special projects and ring fenced sums.
It is not necessary to precept for contingencies provided that the Town Council when looking at the budget figures considers its estimated expenditure for the next financial year to be sufficient to cover its commitments. Failure to do so will mean continued drawing against the contingency fund and should an emergency arise the Town Council will have insufficient funds to fall back on.
Establishment costs are rising and this is unavoidable due to the nature of the type of activities held in this building and the rising costs of services. In 2015/2016 the Town Council will need to accept that costs will rise further.
Supply of utilities, telecommunications, insurance, banking etc. are all due to increase throughout the period. The cost of power is negotiated through a local authority agreement as part of a consortium and allows the Town Council to gain discounts as part of a larger group. Discounts have also been achieved with electricity costs as part of a loyalty scheme.
Insurance costs were checked and a competitive quote achieved. I have looked at telecommunications costs and the BT scheme is no better, no worse than the others I have looked at. Unfortunately the size of the Town Council precludes any big discounts and the Town Council is not eligible for the incentives offered to residential customers.
The nature of activities embraced by the Town Council leave little room for manoeuvre in the area of possible savings. I look to maximise savings in administrative procedures but the Council’s small size make it unsuitable for any large economies of scale.
It should be noted that while the Town Council is despatching information by e-mail, so too are other organisations and this means that posters, documents etc. that would once have been delivered as hard copies now need to be printed for display or distribution. As an economy measure only one poster for each local event is being reproduced for display and Members are directed to web sites when appropriate.
The Town Council offers concessions to individuals who are in receipt of state pension, registered disabled and in full-time education. The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends that the Town Council:
Maintains concessions to individuals: in receipt of the state pension, registered as disabled and in full-time education.
The allotments are a main aspect of Town Council expenditure. Much success has been achieved in letting terms and as Members are aware there are waiting lists in force on every site.
To date the following monies have been spent:
Allotment: maintenance £290 and water £1,788 (£2,078). Further costs for maintenance will be paid prior to the close of the current financial year.
To date the following revenue has been collected: £ 9,606.
The Finance & General Purposes Committee discussed the allotments at its Meeting in November 2014 and set rents for the year 2016/17. This matter was noted at the Town Council Meeting held on 5th December 2014.
10 Civic Initiatives
The following paragraphs list a number of Civic Initiatives for consideration by the Town Council:
10:1 Hanging Baskets
This is an expensive but highly visible initiative. The cost of the individual baskets themselves are the cheapest element of the project, the maintenance costs of running this project are:
- manpower to erect/dismantle baskets
- maintenance costs (including element to cover replacement due to vandalism)
- watering costs
- testing of lighting columns and licence (carried out by NCC on a rolling programme, if same columns used as for Christmas Lights cost halved with Broxtowe Borough Council).
- cost of sponsorship is: £25 per basket per year
- cost of plaque (a one off cost): £25
- cost of provision of the baskets £4,350
- cost of licence/column testing: £573 (2010)
This is a high cost project which is popular in the Town. It was agreed by the Town Council at its Meeting in January 2014 that new commercial sponsors would be charged £30 per basket.
I have investigated the possibility of planted tubs to replace the hanging baskets but there are limited sites to place such structures and they would by design, have to either be small clustered arrangements or large planted fixed structures, similar to the Broxtowe Borough Council maintained planter at the Roach. They are also equally as expensive to maintain and more likely to be vandalised.
The Walter Parker VC Square is pleasantly planted by Broxtowe Borough Council so there is seasonal colour in that area. Small planted clusters on the ground would be at risk of vandalism and the cost of purchasing large planters and maintaining them would be prohibitive.
Fixed planters would necessitate round the year planting and maintenance which would have ongoing year by year revenue costs as well as capital costs. These works would be essential to prevent such structures from becoming eyesores.
During last year’s budget deliberations the Town Clerk was charged with examining the costs of providing baskets planted with artificial flowers/plants. The cost is as follows:
Plantscape have quoted me £68 per basket for artificial arrangements and the minimum quantity would be 78 units (similar to current number of baskets) at a cost of £5,304 (ex VAT). – Checking the cost of such baskets, on the web, this seems a fair price. Councillors should remember that you are paying not only for the baskets but also for associated costs e.g. the erection and dismantling of them. Such baskets would be unlikely to last more than one season as the elements (wind, rain and sunshine) would take their toll also by the end of a season they are likely to be rather dirty.
The Town Council needs to decide whether or not it wishes to continue to promote this project.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that:
- the scheme continues using FRESH FLOWER baskets
10:2 Christmas Lights etc
A major refurbishment to the lights was carried out in 2006 following the introduction of new health and safety legislation. The Town Council has funded improvements to the Christmas lights in over the ensuing period and during 2013/14 allocated £2,000 to assist with the purchase of new lights for Christmas 2013/14.
New Christmas tree lights were purchased together with a number of Christmas illuminations for the lamp columns. The following observations were made last financial year. The new blue and white tree lights looked very nice but clashed with the multi coloured lights on lamp columns on the Walter Parker VC Square. The lamp column lights were previously purchased by the Town Council to match the original tree lights.
The new blue and white illuminations on the lamp columns looked very bright while the old lighting units looked dull by comparison. To address the balance the ideal would be to upgrade the illuminations over the next few years. However, to date no request for funding towards such a project has been received.
The Christmas Tree ‘Switch On’ in 2014/15 will be led by the TCT. Support from the Town Council for this event included the:
- provision of 200 Goodie Bags for Father Christmas to give to young children
- cost of the vintage barrel organ
- loan of the gazebo to assist with the provision of Father Christmas’s Grotto
The Deputy Town Mayor visited the event and joined the Mayor of Broxtowe to Switch on the Lights.
Christmas Event costs will be reported to the Town Council once all costs have been accounted for. Expenses relating to Christmas Festivities can be contained within this budget heading.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends that the Town Council continues to fund an element of Christmas Festivities from within the Civic Initiatives Budget Heading.
10:3 Village Ventures
The Town Council has supported this scheme, for over 20 years, providing professional drama and music in the community and sponsors at least two and if possible as many as four productions through the Village Ventures Scheme in any one municipal year. This financial year the Town Council will promote music and drama with three productions being presented in St Helen’s Parish Church.
The cost of mounting these shows is as follows:
- the cost of a production is between £240-£350 dependent upon content
- the cost of hiring premises; St Helen’s Church costs £150
- staff time to administer the event, etc. (Costs relate to both pre and post production)
- refreshments, (proceeds of which are traditionally donated to the Mayor of Broxtowe’s Charity)
- the cost of mounting productions in the current financial year was (this will be reported following the event.
- tickets are currently priced at £10.00 and £9.00 concessionary rate
- any profit made from these productions must be split with the company.
It should be noted that due to the number of concession tickets likely to be purchased for these productions and the charges levied for hiring venues, I cannot guarantee that the Town Council will break even on these events. It is unusual for the Town Council to make an overall loss on this initiative.
The new Brochure for productions in 2015/16 will not be available until spring 2015, so at this point there is no way information re productions being offered for this period.
The cost of hiring premises is a major cost to the Town Council as it now has to pay for performing space. Prior to Broxtowe Borough Council taking over management of the Maycliffe Hall, the premises were let to the Town Council for Village Ventures productions at no cost. Maycliffe Hall is currently not available and if it was the Town Clerk has been advised that a commercial hire rate would be charged. St Helen’s Parish Church is an ideal venue for such events with wonderful acoustics.
Members should note the importance of such events in community terms. A number of individuals, look forward to and regularly attend Village Ventures events, as might be expected, they wish to see the Town Council continue to support this scheme. Likewise those who are not interested in drama or music see this area of expenditure as a luxury.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee, recommends to the Town Council that it:
- continues to support this initiative;
- maintains the price of tickets at £10 and £9.
10:4 Hemlock Happening
The Town Council has sponsored the Hemlock Happening since its inception. It is understood that this event will be held in 2015. In the financial year 2011/12 the level of sponsorship was raised to £1,500.
This event attracts a large cross section of the community and the Town Mayor officiates at the opening ceremony of this event.
A request has been received asking the Town Council to contribute £2,000 to this event in the financial year 2015/16.
This item provoked considerable discussion regarding this event, with a number of Councillors expressing the opinion that some charge should be made for either entrance to the event or for the programmes. Further comment was made regarding changes to the actual site of the activities.
However, this is not a Town Council event it merely makes a contribution to the day and the Town Mayor is invited to officiate at the event, while a number of Town Councillors also volunteer to act as stewards in a purely voluntary capacity. It was suggested that anyone who wished to make suggestions regarding the running of the event should contact the appropriate officer at Broxtowe Borough Council and/or the Jubilee Group who organise the event.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it:
Sponsors this event at the sum of £2,000.
In 2009 Broxtowe Borough Council reduced funding for summer Playday activities. Stapleford Town Council as a co-sponsor upped its contribution from £500 to £750 to enable the Stapleford Play Day to take place in 2009. Since 2009 the Town Council has continued to contribute £750 for this purpose. To date there is no information as to whether or not there will be a Playday event in 2015.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it allocates £750 for this purpose in 2015, with the proviso that if a Stapleford Playday does not take place the money allocated will be returned to reserves or reallocated to a suitable project.
10:6 Stapleford Carnival
Due to the cancellation of the Carnival Parade the Town Council took the decision to replace the Float Competition with a competition for the Best Stall designed by a charity or community group. This idea proved to be popular and a similar initiative was followed in 2014.
The Town Mayor with fellow Civic Dignitaries officially opened the 2014 Carnival and it is expected that the Town Mayor will play a similar role in 2015. Please note this is not a Town Council event and the Town Council is not responsible for the organisation of the Carnival.
However, it is expected that the Town Council will maintain a presence at the event. The Town Council usually mounts a small display within its own gazebo with Members working a rota to meet, greet and talk with local residents.
This item engendered considerable discussion regarding the absence of the Parade. It was agreed that the Town Clerk should write to the Hemlockstone Lions urging that organisation to consider reinstating the Carnival Parade.
The cost to the Town Council for the Carnival in 2014 was £45.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that the:
- Community/Charity Group Stall Competition is maintained in 2014
- prizes remain the same
- allocation of up to £300 in 2015 for Carnival involvement is maintained under this budget
10:7 Summer Garden Competition
This scheme is popular with local residents. The cost of staging this event in 2014 was £290. Should the Town Council be mindful to continue with this project the Town Clerk will continue to investigate economies.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends the continuation of this event to the Town Council.
11 Civic Costs
The Town Mayor attends events both within and out with the Town. Publicity generated by the Town Mayor’s activities is central to the Office and the identification of the Town Council through this Office makes it important that the Town Mayor attends as many functions within the Town as possible. However, incumbents of this role should not ask for invitations or invite themselves to events.
It should be noted that the office of Deputy Town Mayor is not officially recognised and if the Town Council wishes it does not need to appoint an individual to this role. However, this would cause problems where the Town Mayor is unable to attend an event for any reason.
Town Mayors do not have official Escorts. However, custom and practice means that a number of organisations will automatically invite the Town Mayor and Escort. However, it has been noted by the Town Clerk that an increasing number of invitations are to the Town Mayor alone and that even when an Escort is invited a number of Civic Dignitaries are choosing to attend on their own without an Escort.
The Civic Allowance was raised in the financial year 2007/2008, with the Town Mayor’s allowance being increased from £350 to £400 and the Deputy Town Mayors from £70 to £100.
It should be noted that all tickets to events both out with and within the Town for the Town Mayor and their Escort, if invited, are paid for by the Town Council over and above the Civic Allowance.
Members should note that the Town Clerk is aware that there has been some discussion within the Clerk’s Association regarding the payment of this allowance and that technically the allowance should only be used for the payment of actual Civic Costs, whatever they may be. This matter is being monitored and the Town Clerk will advise as required.
Attendance at events is to promote the Town and on deciding whether to bear the cost of funding such invitations it should be considered what benefit will accrue to the Town from the Town Mayors presence. Broxtowe Borough Council has a ‘scoring system’ in place to indicate the benefit to the Borough of the attendance at events. This process is unnecessary for the Town Council’s purposes, the relative size of the two authorities make it unnecessary to follow such a process. However, it is important that the Town Clerk oversees what invitations are accepted and the suitability of events.
When on official business the Town Mayor/Deputy Town Mayor may claim transport costs, bus/taxi/petrol for events out with the Town. (Many incumbents have chosen not to claim travelling costs during their year of office). Individuals are encouraged to use the cheapest form of transport. It was agreed in 2014/15 to cap transport costs at £25 per event.
The Meeting thanked the Deputy Town Mayor for his commitment to the role and the suggestion has been made to the Town Clerk that an honorarium of £200 should be awarded to the Deputy Town Mayor in recognition of his dedication to the role during the past seven months.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it continues the following practices:
- pays for all tickets to events for the Town Mayor/Deputy Town Mayor and Escorts where an official invitation has been received;
- pays for transport costs (when claimed) for the Town Mayor/Deputy Town Mayor when attending civic events outside the town;
- caps transport costs at up to £25 per claim;
- maintains the Civic Allowances at the present rate; and
- awards the current Deputy Town Mayor an honorarium of £200.
12 Mayoral/Civic Events
The Town Mayor hosts a number of events throughout the year at the Carnegie Centre and elsewhere in the Town, e.g. Coffee Mornings, Civic Service, Remembrance Sunday etc. These are excellent opportunities for the Town Mayor to meet the local populace and demonstrate the Town Council’s commitment to the Town.
Civic Events tend to run up costs for the provision of light refreshments, staff time, publicity, PA systems and donations. I have compiled a list of events and commented as relevant:
Coffee Mornings: Held usually to support a Charity (during this municipal year the Town Clerk has donated her time for such events held in support of Armed Forces Day and the Mayor of Broxtowe’s Charities).
Such events help to raise the profile of the Town Council and encourage individuals to enter the Carnegie Centre and find out about the Town Council. The Armed Forces Day event cost the time of one staff member. Following this event £85 was donated to Combat Stress.
There are to be two such events in the Municipal Year 2014/15 in support of the Mayor of Broxtowe’s Charities: A Christmas Coffee Morning, (which raised £100), and an Easter themed Coffee Morning.
Given that 2015/16 is an election year I cannot comment on who will be Mayor of Broxtowe in 2015/16. However, it is hoped that the Town Council will continue to support the Mayor of Broxtowe’s Charities.
Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day: Both these Services are well attended and bring all sectors of the community together. Main costs are staff time, printing, and the hiring of the PA system.
However, the Town Clerk has been advised by Nottinghamshire County Council that the Town Council should consider the management of traffic at future Remembrance Events and the Finance and General Purposes Committee has asked the Town Clerk to find out the cost of professional traffic management for future events. Such costs will be reported at the Town Council Meeting.
Annual Town’s and Annual Council Meetings: Catering and staff costs. It is traditional to provide catering following these events. By holding them on the one night it keeps the cost down. The holding of these Meetings is a statutory requirement.
Sherry and Mincepies: Provided for those present at the last Town Council Meeting before Christmas. (Taken in with other Christmas expenditure)
Town Council Civic Service: This is an annual event and is hosted by the Town Mayor. There are costs to the Town Council in staff time, printing etc. The actual monetary cost for refreshments, donations to the church concerned are relatively low. This year’s Civic service is scheduled to be held on 15th February 2015.
Please note the special Service of Commemoration for the commencement of World War One had similar costs to a Civic Service in the utilisation of the Town Clerk’s time, printing etc. The cost of staffing, associated printing and admin costs were contained within the relative budget heads.
There has been some discussion as to whether the Civic Service should be maintained on the Civic Calendar and following discussion the Town Council agreed that this matter should be reviewed annually. As the forthcoming municipal year is also an election year it is recommended that this Administration makes its comments and that the decision on whether or not to hold this Service is discussed by the new Administration.
The Town Clerk will place this matter on the Agenda for the Town Council’s first business Meeting following the Annual Council Meeting in May 2015.
Flowers: The Town Mayor visits Stapleford residents on the following occasions: Birthdays – 80, 90, 100 and 100plus. Anniversaries 50, 60, 65, 70 and onwards.
In the financial year 2010/11 it was agreed that an orchid plant or similar would be presented rather than a basket of flowers. The final bill for this element of the mayoral year is dependent on how many birthdays/anniversaries there are in any one municipal year.
Flowers are also sent on other occasions, e.g. presentations to the outgoing/incoming Town Mayor etc., bereavements, illness, and special presentations. Again costs are dependent on the number in any one year. The cost for flowers to date is: £100.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends continuation of funding in 2015/2016, the Civic Expenses and Civic initiatives Budget Heads including the items listed in this report.
13 Section 137
Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables local Councils to make awards to groups for specific projects which will benefit the Town. The Town Council makes a budget allocation for this purpose.
There is a list of guidelines with regard to the allocation of such funding. Members should note that Town/Parish Council’s may allocate £7.20 per head of electors to this budget head. However, as with most Town/Parish Council’s this amount would place a considerable strain on this Town Councils precept. Last financial year the Town Council agreed to allocate £1,000 in the budget to this expenditure.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends the continuation of a fixed sum to cover this expenditure and given the current financial climate recommends that £1,500 is allocated for this purpose.
14 Special Event in 2015 – Centenary of Walter Parker VC Receiving his VC
The Town Clerk is aware that the centenary of the award of the VC to Walter Parker VC will be celebrated in 2015. It has been advised that the Royal Marines Association is planning an enhanced event at the Annual Memorial Service to Walter Parker VC in April 2015. Discussions have been held between the Royal Marines Association and Broxtowe Borough Council re refurbishment works to the Walter Parker VC Square and an approach has been made to the Town Council to assist with the funding of such works.
It has been suggested that that the Town Council may wish to set up a budget head to cover this commemoration to help local voluntary uniformed organisations who wish to become involved in the centenary celebrations as a legacy and in memory of Walter Parker VC.
1360 ATC is hoping to renew its banner at a cost of £800 (approx) and desires its new banner in time for these celebrations. The Squadron is busy fund raising and has approached a number of organisations for assistance with this purchase. Given the commitment of 1360 ATC to the Town, if the Town Council was mindful to, it could make a contribution to 1360 ATC’s new banner in memory of Walter Parker VC under this proposed budget head.
The Town Clerk is aware that Broxtowe Borough Council is requesting a contribution of £1,000 towards the works on the Walter Parker VC Square. Should the Town Council be mindful to, it could allocate a sum of £2,000 to celebrate this centenary allocating £1,000 towards the works on the Walter Parker VC Square and leaving £1,000 to contribute to voluntary uniformed organisations for projects being undertaken to celebrate this centenary.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it:
- agrees to establish a sub-budget head to recognise the centenary event in memory of Walter Parker VC and allocates £2,000 for this purpose from within the Civic Events Budget;
- allocates £1,000 for the works on the Walter Parker VC Square;
- agrees to award monies to uniformed organisations as described in the report above; and
- allocates a sum to 1360 ATC to assist it with the purchase of a new banner.
- i) Carnegie Centre
The Town Council raises a small amount of income from the letting of the main hall and Council Chamber for meetings to community groups. Both areas are relatively small and are not suitable for large meetings. Many organisations have held inaugural meetings and start up events within these premises and gone on to develop and require larger premises.
The small amount of income achieved from renting rooms must be set against the costs of caretaking and housekeeping. Overall this activity has to be viewed as a service rather than a revenue producing activity. Lettings during the day are most cost effective as the building is open and staffed, while evening lets require the services of the caretaker and rarely cover the costs of staffing and provision.
I have been advised that due to the situation regarding VAT that it would not be advisable to take on commercial letting contracts as there are issues relating to the reclamation of VAT which may affect the renting of premises.
A number of one off meetings have been held free of charge during the day: e.g. Royal British legion, Royal marines Association and meetings held by individual Councillors on a one to one basis.
£10 per hour is charged to voluntary groups using the premises on a one off basis, with long term users enjoying preferential rates and a 10% discount for block booking and the Town Clerk is empowered to use her discretion regarding charges levied on user groups.
Traditionally the Town Council does not charge when lettings are cancelled.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it continues to let premises as per the current arrangements, with a rental charge to £12 per hour being levied on new groups renting premises.
- ii) Carnegie Centre Annex
Situated in the car park this building is let to Broxtowe Youth Homelessness, (BYH). BYH operates throughout the Borough and beyond giving advice to young people regarding housing and other social issues. It is run by a voluntary management committee and is staffed by part-time paid staff.
The Town Council needs to review this rent and decide whether to raise, reduce or maintain it at the current level. It should be noted that BYH receives its funding through grants from various public and charitable bodies and is continually fundraising to stay in business. It is a recipient of lottery funding. Members are recommended to maintain the status quo as it is highly unlikely that this organisation will be in the position to pay an increased rental for the premises. The current rental is £2,400 p.a. including cleaning costs.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it continues to let premises as per the current arrangements.
iii) Cash Office
Broxtowe Borough Council rent the front rooms of the Carnegie Centre for use as a cash office and interview room also paying a percentage of the heating, lighting and utilities charges.
The provision of these facilities is a service to the Town. Given the convenience offered by this facility and the costs of utilities etc met by the Borough Council it is recommended that the status quo is maintained with regard to the charges levied to the Borough Council for these facilities. The rent is: £1,386p.a.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it continues to let premises as per the current arrangements
Building maintenance will be carried out as and when required. However, the Town Clerk is aware of a number of works that are urgently required.
- Replacement windows and doors are required for the annex in the car park and the Finance and General Purposes Committee has instructed the Town Clerk to proceed with this work.
- The main hall and back hallway is in urgent need of refurbishment, redecoration and re-carpeting.
- The car park requires white lining.
- The gas boiler will need replacing at some point in the future.
- The Finance and General Purposes Committee has raised the £2,000 ceiling on repairs to £3,000 to enable the Town Clerk to carryout essential works without unnecessary delays.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it continues to allocate funds for building maintenance as per the current arrangements.
Members should note that a sum of £1,000 is allocated annually towards future upgrades to the computer system. The photocopier is leased from Danwood.
The computer system has been updated this financial year and the Town Clerk has renegotiated the photocopier lease which should result in an overall saving over the life of the new lease, dependent upon how much photocopying is undertaken.
The Town Council is asked to note this section of the report.
The Cost of the by-election held in January 2014 was £9,321. Unless there also happens to be a Borough or County election at the same time, the cost falls entirely on the Town Council. The Town Council is advised to make an annual allocation of at least £4,000 towards the costs of local elections.
Members should be aware that in the event of a casual vacancy occurring, while Members might agree that calling a by-election would not be financially prudent; such a vacancy would need to be advertised.
Any ten local government electors may call a by-election. It is impossible to know when a by-election will occur as matters out with the control of the Town Council may cause such a state of affairs.
The bill for the Local Council Elections in May 2011 was £7,700. These costs were less than anticipated due to the cost being split three ways between the Town, Borough and Central Government (the Referendum vote on electoral reform was held on the same day). It is not known at the time of writing this report whether or not the costs of the next local elections will be split more than two ways. However, it is expected that a General Election will be called to coincide with the Local Elections.
It is expensive to run any election, as staff costs before and after the event must be met, accommodation costs, together with printing and postage costs, publicity costs and the expense of postal voting also form part of the billing procedure.
The Carnegie Centre is used as a polling station and the Town Council charged Broxtowe Borough Council £250 for this purpose. This cost has to be balanced against the recharge cost to the Town Council, the higher the rental charges for polling stations the higher the cost to the Town Council for its share of the election costs.
Please note that as the Carnegie Centre, Main Hall is used as a polling station, the Town Council Office cannot open when an election is held. There are strict conditions within the relevant legislation governing the running of elections and the use of premises for polling purposes. Office staff are given the day off when an election is held.
The Town Council could, if it so wished, withdraw the use of the Carnegie Centre as a Polling Station. This would cause inconvenience to both the general public and Broxtowe Borough Council. There is a shortage of suitable venues to utilise as polling stations and local authorities are advised against using schools wherever possible. If the Town Council was mindful to withdraw the Carnegie Centre as a polling station Broxtowe Borough Council would need to know immediately. Please note it is committed to providing the use of the Carnegie Centre for the Local Elections scheduled to be held on 7th May 2015.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends that the Town Council agrees to allocate and ring fence sufficient funds to meet future election costs and continues to rent the Carnegie centre for use as a polling station.
19 Neighbourhood Planning
Members will be aware that the Town Council has requested Broxtowe Borough Council for the opportunity to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan. At the time of writing the Town Clerk is unaware of the exact costs of this project. There is currently £2,000 in ring fenced sums allocated to this project. However, the Town Clerk advises that this project, should it go ahead, will have significant budgetary implications in relation to the allocation of officer time towards its running costs and that a significantly higher sum than already budgeted will be required to complete such a project.
It is hoped that assistance will be available through government grants and support in kind from Broxtowe Borough Council. A full report will be made to the Town Council once more details are available.
The Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee has been investigating the costs of this proposed project and is recommending that together with already ring fenced sums that the Town Council allocates £10,000 from reserves to be ring fenced for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning.
The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommends to the Town Council that it allocates £10,000 from Reserves to facilitate the compilation of a Neighbourhood Plan.
Agreement has now been reached re the salary scales from 2014-16 and full details were reported to the Finance and General purposes Committee.
The Town Council is asked to note this information.
21 Living Wage
Members should be aware of the Living Wage as supported by the Living Wage Foundation (www.livingwage.org.uk). At its Meeting in June 2014 the Town Council voted to become a living wage
employer, following the conclusion of the NJCC wage negotiations.
Salaries below the recognised Living Wage will be calculated, as agreed, and a living wage allowance paid to eligible members of staff.
The Town Council is asked to note this information.
As detailed in the Precept Report you are required to set the precept for 2015/2016.
Members will recall from the last Budget Report that Town/Parish Councils are now, following changes to legislation, expected to make a contribution to the costs of providing housing benefit payments. In the current financial year, 2014/15, Broxtowe Borough Council passed on a percentage of grant funding from Central Government to assist Town/Parish Councils with this massive increase in expenditure.
However, this assistance was only available provided Towns/Parishes in receipt of this grant aid did not increase their precept. At the time of writing this report the Town Clerk is not aware what Stapleford’s contribution to the housing benefit bill will be or whether or not Broxtowe Borough Council is planning to offer the same level of grant or any grant aid in the new financial year, 2015/16. This matter will be fully reported to the Town Council when the information is available.
It is hoped that full details of how the allocation of central funding, if any, will be made, will be available prior to the Town Council Meeting January 2015.
Members are advised to be mindful of this situation when setting the precept and the appendix will contain relevant information to assist with this exercise.
|Members are requested to note that I have prepared this report using the accounts up to 31st December 2014.|
The Town Council is asked to:
- approve this report;
- instruct the Town Clerk to enact the recommendations for the financial year 2015/2016 agreed following discussion of this report and
- give further instructions to the Town Clerk following discussion of this report as required.
DRAFT PRECEPT 2015/2016
Report of the Town Clerk
The Town Council is required to set a precept for 2015/2016. Following consideration of the half-yearly finance report I trust Members are now in a position to do so.
2) Finance & General Purposes Committee
At the meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 28th November 2014 Members will discuss the need to increase or otherwise the Town Council’s precept for 2015/2016. The present condition of the building, probable increases in costs of goods and services and the need to maintain the service provided to the public by the Council were all taken into consideration when discussing this matter. Together with the discussion of charges related to Housing Benefit charges as introduced in 2015/16 by Central Government.
4) Proposed Government Freeze on Council Tax
I can report that Secretary for State Eric Pickles has confirmed that the government freeze on Council Tax will not affect Town and Parish Councils. However, such bodies have been asked to show restraint when setting their precepts.
3) Increase/Decrease? Maintain at present rate?
At the time of writing I am not aware of what increase either Broxtowe Borough Council or Nottinghamshire County Council will be making on the overall rate.
As previously discussed Members will be aware that due to changes in benefit allocations laid down in recent legislation this will have an impact on council tax charges. The Finance and General Purposes Committee was unable to make a recommendation re any possible increase or otherwise to the Precept given the lack of information relating to what if any grant aid may be available to Town/Parish Councils.
When deciding on the Precept for 2015/16 Members will need to decide whether or not to pass on any or some of the costs associated with the benefits charges via;
an increased precept,
delete activities to cover or part cover the costs of meeting this requirement,
take some or part of the costs out of Reserves.
However, using money from reserves to cover such a cost is a purely short term measure as reduced funds will not meet the cost in future years and will result in the reduction of such funds to meet emergencies or support future projects.
Further the fact that Local Elections are scheduled for May 2015 should be noted.
Members should note that the Finance and General Purposes Committee does not wish to see an excessive rise in the Town Council Precept.
As stated previously in the Budget Report, an appendix to that report will be despatched as soon as information relating to any possible grant aid allocation or otherwise is available to assist Members with their deliberations.
When discussing the precept for 2015/2016 I have listed below the percentage increases relevant to the precept. For Members’ information the percentage rises between 0% and 5% are shown below:
(The current precept is £76,314) % £ % £
1 763 1.5 1,145
2 1,526 2.5 1,908
3 2,290 3.5 2,671
4 3,053 4.5 3,434
5 3,816 5.5. 4,197
The Town Council is asked to instruct the Town Clerk regarding the following options:
- whether or not to maintain the precept at the current level; or
- whether or not to increase the precept by %;
- whether or not to allocate monies from reserves to assist with this process;
- give further instructions to the Town Clerk