Agenda and minutes

Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) - Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Online Meeting - view the meeting at www.mybostonuk.com/youtube

Contact: Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer  01205 314227 email:  janette.collier@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

96.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were apologies for absence from Councillors Viven Edge, Alison Austin and Alan Bell.

 

97.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To sign and confirm the minutes of the meetings held on 26th November and 16th December 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 26th November 2020 were agreed as a correct record, to be signed by the Chairman.

98.

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.

Minutes:

Members were reminded that a Member Briefing would be held on 8th February at 6 pm to discuss the protocol for dealing with illegal encampments, which representatives from Lincolnshire Police would be attending.

99.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

None.

 

100.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

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 – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, 29th January 2021.

Minutes:

None.

 

101.

TASK & FINISH GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS - REGULATING AND SAFEGUARDING THE ECONOMY pdf icon PDF 54 KB

(Recommendations from the Environment and Performance Committee’s Task & Finish Group presented by Christian Allen, Assistant Director – Regulation)

Minutes:

Members debated the recommendations from the Task and Finish Group review of Regulating and Safeguarding the Economy and agreed that they be included in BTAC’s work programme, to allow the Committee to consider:

 

·         Locking Central Park gates overnight to address on-going issues of anti-social behaviour (ASB) within thepark;

·         A trial period of four months to allow monitoring of incidents during that time to either support, or not, the closing of the gates permanently overnight;

·         Funding the cost of closing the gates for the trial period or on a permanent basis;

·         Funding a service for Central Park to address ongoing ASB in the park.

 

Action: CA

Prepare a detailed report with costs and options relating to locking the gates of Central Park and the provision of a service to address anti-social behaviour in the park.

102.

PROPOSED BTAC BUDGET 2021/22 AND FORECAST TO 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 202 KB

(A report presented by Adrian Sibley, Chief Finance Officer and Section 151 Officer)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Section 151 Officer presented a report, which set out options for Members to consider in order to make a recommendation to Cabinet and Council on the precept and Band D Council Tax levy for properties in the BTAC area for the 2021/22 financial year. 

 

The report detailed the current position and the proposed levy for the Council to approve for 2021/22.  BTAC Members had increased the precept in recent years to help make the town a better place and initiatives had been progressed to fund public conveniences, Central Park spend, footway lights and open spaces, events and town centre operatives. The proposed budget included an inflationary increase this year, which included an unallocated sum to enable members to support further measures to improve the town.

 

The level of Council Tax was a key factor for the Committee when considering its future aspirations.

 

BTAC Members had attended a budget workshop earlier in February.  Based on feedback from Members on the preferred scale of future BTAC operations and Council Tax levels going forward, the report set out the effects of changes to the assumptions Council Tax and implications for the Committee’s resources if the precept was increased by 1.91%, 0%, 0.5% and 1% and then 2% per year in each case.

 

The report concluded with the recommendation for BTAC to recommend to Cabinet and Council the level of its Special Expense precept for 2021/22 at £731,479, and the Council Tax charge of £76.95 at Band D.

 

During debate, Members made the following main points:

·         It was not clear what the recharges for Support Services related to;

·         The cost of maintenance of public toilets seemed excessive, particularly the charge for water rates;

·         The amount charged for use of the toilets should be reconsidered.

 

In response to these and other questions, the Section 151 Officer advised that:

·         Each 1% increase in the precept would equate to approximately £7,000 additional money in the budget;

·         Support services costs included officer time spent on writing reports and associated administration;

·         A report on the Events budget would be submitted to the next meeting;

·         The charges for the toilets were currently 20p per visit and produced an annual income of £14,000.

 

Action: AS/PP

1.    Provide a breakdown of support charges;

2.    Establish whether the water rates charge related purely to the toilets;

3.    Request details of rent charged for the café unit in Central Park.

 

It was then proposed and seconded that it be recommended to Cabinet and Full Council that there be a 0% increase in BTAC’s precept in order to give members of the public some respite from the financial impact of the pandemic.

 

The Section 151 Officer referred to the recent Audit & Governance Committee meeting, when a proposal for a 0% increase related to the increase in Council Tax.  A 0% increase in BTAC’s precept would not affect the amount of funds the Council would have and BTAC’s budget could withstand a precept freeze.

 

Other Members agreed that BTAC had sufficient funds in reserves to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

WORK PROGRAMME - STANDING ITEM pdf icon PDF 145 KB

(The Committee’s work programme for the current year for discussion and/or updating.)

Minutes:

Members agreed that the Chairman would write a letter on behalf of the Committee to support Boston Squash Club’s application for funding from the East Coast Communities Fund for the cost of upgrading their facilities, if requested by the funding body.

 

The Committee agreed to add the following reports to the work programme:

·         School Street Application by Haven High Academy

·         Events Review 2021

·         BTAC Small Grants Scheme

·         Community Champion’s Funding

·         Open Spaces Improvements ‘Wish List’

·         Central Park – Costs and options on locking gates overnight and provision of a service to address anti-social behaviour

·         Public Conveniences – Costs and options on charges and opening hours