Venue: Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR
Contact: Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer 01205 314227 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting, held on 28th November 2018.
With the agreement of the committee the Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 28 November 2018
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were tabled by Councillors Viven Edge; Ben Evans and Stephen Raven.
UPDATE ON ACTIONS FROM THE MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
To report progress on outstanding actions from the minutes of the last meeting, for information only.
No updates were tabled.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.
To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting.
No questions tabled.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIME
To allow members of the public to address the Committee.
Committee received no representation from any member of the public.
Inspector Morrice was invited to address the meeting at this point in the proceedings and advised that whilst he had no specific updating to report, he could confirm that Boston was in a really good position at that time with no current crime trends or particular problems or issues out of the ordinary.
Members tabled the following questions with the response from Inspector Morrice noted in italics:
In light of the news in respect of the suspected illegal immigrants jumping off the back of a lorry, had the outstanding escapees been captured?
The last time the incident had been checked 2 of the escapees had been captured however members needed to recognise the complication of who the police were looking for; whereabouts in the world they had come from, what they looked like and so on. Normally in such situations if the people were from non EU countries they usually sought out the police as they wished to claim asylum. It was ongoing with further enquiries.
Referencing the responsibility of traffic wardens a member noted that whilst it may not be within the Inspectors remit he asked for his opinion on the role of the various traffic wardens within the borough and the confusion the various individual sets of traffic wardens caused for the general public along with the costs of policing a town for parking with so many different operators projecting a bad image for Boston.
The Chairman intervened at this point and confirmed that Traffic Wardens wearing Green were from the County Council who patrolled County Council owned property including roads and their own car parks; the wardens wearing Blue were the Council’s own traffic wardens policing the Council’s own car parks and finally all other traffic wardens operated independently for the owners of the private car parks. She further stated that it was not a police issue and was not an issue for Inspector Morrice to address.
Referencing videos filmed by the public in respect of the recent house fire at Kirton, when a person was shouting for help from a window, a member asked why nothing could be done in such instances as the videos were uplifted onto social media as the tragedy unfolded and was distressing for those involved?
Clearly the videos end up on social media and quite often this could be before the police had a chance to speak with the next of kin about the situation, especially if somebody had lost their life. It caused a lot of complications and upset to those involved in the incident who then had to re live the ordeal and it was appalling. Criminal law had unfortunately not caught up and of course the police would always issue the advice please do not do it but at the current time, there was nothing the police could do to legally prevent it taking place.
Most areas of the country during the Christmas period tended to experience a ... view the full minutes text for item 74.
FINANCIAL REPORT - STANDING ITEM PDF 95 KB
(A report presented by Paul Julian, Head of Financial Services.)
Committee noted the standing report with comments and questions raised including:
A member asked for an explanation in respect of spending on public conveniences for the current year. If there was a high forecast but the actual figures were less would there be another forecast for 2018/19.
The Chief Finance Officer explained that the first column of figures identified the full budget for the year; the second column is the ‘in-year’ spend to date and the forecast out-turn is the revised position for the whole year. In terms of the comparison it was between columns 1 and 3.
A member asked for clarification on the £48,664 that was unallocated in the original budget.
It was explained that the £48,664 currently remained unallocated. Therefore either schemes would be bought forward in the next couple of months to allocate all or some of it, or it would be put into reserves and then the new BTAC committee in the coming year would take a view on how it wished to spend it. For confirmation the money would be carried forward in additional to the minimum £70,000.
A member asked for clarification of what the reserves would be end of this year is it £55,000 or £254,000
Currently there was nearly £200,000 projected.
A member noted that there had been extra funding found such as the events on which had bought in more monies than had been expected. Extra ways of funding had been sourced for play equipment. BTAC would set the budget but as a committee along with some of the portfolio holders they were quite active in trying to bring in extra funding to protect a lot of BTAC’s money.
A member asked for further detail in respect of the £4,434 overspend for the town centre maintenance and administration.
When the budget was set it had estimated a support cost for Finance, I.T and other support services. It had then been revised in year because of the extent of the growth of BTAC during the year to ensure that BTAC was bearing its fair share of the costs.
Resolved: Committee noted the report.
PROPOSED BTAC BUDGET 2019.20 PDF 201 KB
(A report presented by Paul Julian, Head of Financial Services.)
The Chief Finance Officer presented the report confirming it was the proposed 2019/20 BTAC budget and forecast.
The budget prepared was in essence a continuation of the services that BTAC had agreed to take on board and the report recommendation was that BTAC precept for the following year should be £680,303 with Band D council tax being £74.07 an increase of 2.9% over the current year.
The minimum level of reserves anticipated following assessment had moved from £55,000 to £70,000 being approximately 10% of the precept.
Para 1.1 reminded committee members that over the recent years the increases in council tax had helped a number of initiatives including the on-going funding of public conveniences; spending on central park; footway lights and open spaces and events including new resources for new events and the town centre operatives. The proposed budget included an inflationary increase including a further allocated sum of £48,973 to help BTAC members in the coming year to deliver on new initiatives.
The 2.9% proposed increase meant BTAC Band D would increase by £2.09 per year in essence 4 pence per week. As Members realised most BTAC properties were below band D with the increase for these properties being in the region of 3 pence per week before any benefits.
The tax base for next year had risen by 0.98%: for future years it had been taken forward as a 1% increase to provide the forward estimates.
Appendix 1 provided a detailed breakdown of the items within the budget with the forward estimates providing the position for increases assumed at this point of 2% per annum from 2020/21 which would continue to ensure there would be unallocated amount at this point each year.
Referencing the table in section 9 relating to budget sensitivities members were advised it showed the extent of changes there could be in budgets should actuals turn out to be at a different rate to inflation than those anticipated. Public consultation would take place in respect of the overall Council budget process which would open on the 9th January 2019 and close on the 8th February 2019.
In conclusion members were advised that BTAC were asked to recommend to Cabinet and Council the level of the special expense precept for 2019/20 at £680,303 with the council tax charge at £74.07 at Band D.
Member comment and questioning followed including:
A member thanked the Chief Finance Officer for the quality and data within the report which allowed ease of understanding and stated that the BTAC committee had been brave in recent years including taking over the public convenience and the maintenance of the parks, along with the introduction of the town centre operatives who do excellent work. It would be easy to think of things to spend money on and seek another large increase but it would be irresponsible to do so and BTAC needed to keep its increase around inflation and continue to provide the good services it did for local people. The committee ... view the full minutes text for item 76.
WORK PROGRAMME - STANDING ITEM PDF 164 KB
(The Committee’s work programme for the current year for discussion and/or updating.)
The Chairman sought any future reporting for the remaining four meetings of the municipal year.
A member asked for a report on the trial of 24 hour opening of Central Park to identify the impact of the change in leaving the gates open. The committee had received no information on this over the period of change.
A second member requested the presence of the police to be in attendance for that report.
No further reporting requests were noted.
To Do: The Lead Officer for the committee to be advised of the request for the additional report.