Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Chorley
Contact: Ruth Rimmington Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Decision: That the minutes of the Council meeting held on 22 January 2019 be approved as a correct record for signature by the Mayor.
Declarations of Any Interests
Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.
If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.
Councillor Eric Bell declared a pecuniary interest in item 5: 2019/20 Draft Budget and Summary Budget position over the Medium Term.
The Mayor thanked all those who had supported her Charity Ball and advised that she will be undertaking her sponsored microlight flight the following day.
Councillor Danny Gee thanked all those who have supported his sponsored dry January and advised that Councillor Gillian Sharples has continued her sponsored dry months.
Members of the public who have requested the opportunity to ask question(s) on any item(s) on the agenda will have three minutes to put their question(s) to the relevant Councillor. Members of the public will be allowed to ask one short supplementary question.
There were no public questions for consideration.
To seek approval to recommendations from the Executive contained in the attached report of the Chief Finance Officer (Introduced by the Executive Member for Resources) and within the appendices listed below.
The Mayor explained that this item and item 6. Fees and Charges Review 2019/20 will be considered at the same time.
Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member (Resources) presented the Executive's 2019/20 Draft Budget and Summary Budget position over the Medium Term and item 6. Fees and Charges Review 2019/20.
Councillor Wilson thanked the officers and the Labour Group for their hard work and input into the proposed budget. Chorley Council has experienced and may continue to experience in the coming three years, large reductions in its major funding sources, particularly the Revenue Support Grant, New Homes Bonus and from Lancashire County Council.
The uncertainty surrounding the future of local government finance, New Homes Bonus and Business Rate Retention are important considerations and reasonable assumptions must be made in planning for the future. Despite the budget savings there remain large forecast budget deficits of £1.196m in 2020/21 and £1.672m in 2021/22. To achieve a sufficient reduction in net expenditure the Council’s strategy will be:
1. To make the Council more financially self-sufficient with specific emphasis on creating investment that generates income. This includes identifying future uncommitted resources to support income generating schemes.
2. To realise savings through the procurement of its contracts
3. To identify the efficiencies through investment in infrastructure, ICT and through exploring alternative delivery models that will enable the Council to balance the budget whilst seeking to minimise the impact on front line service users
Councillor Wilson referred to the achievements of the Council in recent years and noted that the Council has maintained effective budgetary planning and delivered efficiency savings of £1.484m for 2019/20. This figure also includes additional income the Council has raised through sources other than Council Tax.
In addition to a balanced budget, there are proposals for investment to support the Corporate Strategy, including the creation of employment opportunities, the development of a Housing Company and improvements to Astley Hall through the Capital Programme.
In summary, the report set out proposals that will:
· Mitigate the expected future reduction in Central Government funding by increasing Council Tax by 2.99% in 2019/20 and including a forecast 2.00% increase in 2020/21 and a forecast 2% increase in 2021/22 as part of the medium term budget strategy.
· Deliver budget efficiency savings and increased income of £1.484m in 2019/20 onwards
· Continue to deliver ongoing investment in strategic priorities of approximately £1m
· Seek to bridge the forecasted budget gap, in particular through investing in projects that generate net income streams as well as the procurement of its contracts and through investment in its services, assets and staff enabling the council to deliver services more efficiently.
· Set aside £300k to mitigate the impact that the UK leaving the EU could have on local businesses and Corporate Priorities.
· Is consistent with the Council’s Corporate Strategy and Medium Term Financial Strategy.
· Minimise the revenue impact of the council’s borrowing commitment to fund the capital programme.
The proposed budget builds on the success of previous years, ensures the resilience of the Council’s financial position ... view the full minutes text for item 19.C.17
To consider a report of the Conservative Group.
This item is being published as a supplement as the substantive item of an alternative budget proposition is not being presented for consideration and a vote. This item is for debate and to note.
Councillor Martin Boardman, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, presented the statement of opposition, which follows on from the alternative corporate strategy which was presented to Policy Council and sets out the plan of the Conservative Group to create a borough where people can start well, live well and age well. The statement is to be noted.
The purpose of the Opposition is to hold the Administration to account and the Opposition are not presenting a budget as the intention is to scrutinise the budget proposed by the Administration.
The budget statement proposes a 1.50% increase in Council Tax in 2019/20, in 2020/12 and in 2021/22. It is not felt that any higher increase in Council tax is necessary as year on year there is overspend which is carried over.
The budget statement proposes £1.460m efficiency savings and £249,000 additional income in 2019/20 and more year on year. The budget statement also proposes £1.65m in 2019/20 to invest in the Oppositions’ priority areas and projects, which includes allocating £300,000 to investigate the feasibility of developing a high-quality sports village in the borough and town centre residential accommodation for students, young professionals and young families.
A further £300,000 is proposed to be invested in a borough wide, partnerships grant fund which the Opposition believe will support more organisations, charities and voluntary groups for the wider benefit our communities. £850,000 will be allocated to a rural investment fund, to provide a focus on improving infrastructure, communications, community links and supporting small businesses in rural communities.
As the building work to extend the Market Walk Shopping centre is well under way, the Opposition budget statement is to keep funding this development despite the uncertainties nationally within the retail sector. However, the income levels included in the proposal for 2019/20 and 2020/21 are much lower than the administrations’ and are felt to be more realistic.
Councillor Peter Wilson, Executive Member (Resources), expressed his view that it is the duty of the Opposition to present proposals and for these to be voted on. Due to the future uncertainties in local government finance it is expected that the Government will look at what Councils can raise themselves. This means a risk that Council’s will be expected the raise Council Tax by 2.99% and the gap may not be funded by the Government. Chorley has one of the lowest Council Tax in Lancashire. Not all projects allocated a budget are realised, any underspend builds the capacity for the Council to reinvest.
In debating the proposals put forward by the opposition, Members raised issues around the Market Walk extension, the proposed staff savings, the proposed officer to tackle rural broadband and the proposed sixth form education provision.
Decision: That the Statement of Opposition be noted.
Members debated the 2019/20 draft budget and summary Budget position over the Medium Term and the Fees and Charges Review 2019/20.
In debating the proposals Councillor Martin Boardman, Deputy Leader of the Opposition raised issues around budget pressures and funding cuts, the response rate ... view the full minutes text for item 19.C.18
Councillor Margaret France to be the Council’s representative on the Lancashire Air Quality Champions Network.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, the Executive Leader, proposed, Councillor Peter Wilson, the Deputy Leader, seconded the Decision to appoint Councillor Margaret France to be the Council’s representative on the Lancashire Air Quality Champions Network.
Exclusion of the Public and Press
To consider the exclusion of the press and public for the following items of business on the ground that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act.
By Virtue of Paragraph 1: Information relating to any individual.
Information is exempt to the extent that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Information is not exempt if it relates to proposed development for which the local planning authority may grant itself planning permission pursuant to Regulation 3 of the Town & Country Planning General Regulations 1992(a).
The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, proposed and the Deputy Leader, Councillor Peter Wilson, seconded the Decision – that the press and public be excluded for the remaining item of business due to the disclosure of exempt information under Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act.
Senior Management Restructure and consequential changes to staffing structures
To receive and consider the report of the Chief Executive.
Gary Hall, Chief Executive, presented his report which sets out a review of the current management structures and proposals for approval changes needed to best serve the council’s priorities and business model.
Members discussed the proposals and noted that one of the proposals is to separate the Head of Paid Service role and the Statutory Finance Officer role, the new structure will assist in the delivery of the Corporate Strategy. The slow progress on Shared Services was noted.
The proposals will have two weeks informal consultation, followed by four weeks formal consultation. Gary Hall invited all Members to contact him if there are any queries following the meeting.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, the Executive Leader, proposed, Councillor Peter Wilson, the Deputy Leader, seconded the Decision:
1. To approve the proposed structures and other changes for consultation.
2. To delegate authority to the Executive Leader, in consultation with other Executive Members, to approve the final decision subject to there being no material changes.