Agenda and minutes

Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) - Thursday, 3rd February, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: JAKEMANS STADIUM, BUFC, WYBERTON, BOSTON

Contact: Karen Rist, Democratic Services Officer  01205 314226 email:  karen.rist@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

24.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were tabled by Councillors Alan Bell, Anton Dani, Viven Edge, and Neil Hastie. 

25.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting.

Minutes:

Committee agreed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 7th October 2021.

26.

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:

No updates were tabled

27.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

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

Minutes:

None tabled

28.

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 Monday 31st January 2022.

Minutes:

None tabled

29.

PUBLIC SPEAKING TIME

To allow members of the public to address the Committee.

Minutes:

No public speakers

30.

LINCOLNSHIRE HOUSING PARTNERSHIP

A presentation by representative of Lincolnshire Housing Partnership.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the representatives from Lincolnshire Housing Partnership, Mr Anthony Read Chairman, Mr Murray MacDonald Chief Executive and Mr Mark Coupland Corporate Head for Customer Service to the meeting and thanked them agreeing to attend.

 

Mr Anthony Read addressed the meeting and confirmed he had been in the post since September 2019 and that Lincolnshire Housing Partnership were grateful to have the opportunity to address the meeting. Referencing a question which sought to identify any issues Lincolnshire Housing Partnership were experiencing with the Council, he advised on that there were none and the relationship between the two remained very strong.  Thanking Members for the pre submission of questions, Mr Read stated it was much easier to deal with specifics in advance to allow responses at the meeting.  Furthermore, Mr Read advised of forthcoming recruitment schemes by Lincolnshire Housing Partnership. Confirming the board membership was rotated every six years, with three board members retiring, three new board members were currently sought.  Furthermore Lincolnshire Housing Partnership were looking to appoint 2 of their tenants to sit on their operations committee, and they were also working with three other housing associations across Lincolnshire to provide a facility for training future board members.  Committee were asked to encourage any suitable candidates they may know to apply.

 

Mr Murray Macdonald noted that he was delighted at the success of the quadrant development and the support the housing association had been able to provide within Phase 1 to enable the development to begin.  He advised that since the merger they had stayed committed to the comital at the merger with the agreed priorities of customers first and not forgetting Boston.  Concerns noted at the time of the merger in respect of all monies going to Grimsby had not happened.  The partnership working with the Council continued with officers working together on the town deal and on homelessness issues with each committed to Boston and its community.   A physical office remained in Boston staffed by local residents of the town.   77 new homes had been built since the merger with a further 95 homes in either the ground or the pipeline to be built.  More than £50million had also been spent since the merger to update and improve homes.

 

Throughout Covid, Lincolnshire Housing Partnership had never had to stop any of its services and had maintained its repair service during that time along with its care service.  Boston Mayfield which provided extra care services to residents had shielded and the site had remained safe.

 

 

Moving onto the questions tabled in advance of the meeting and during the meeting have been collated and the representatives responses as follows:

Referencing concern at neglected rural properties:

The partnership had invested in repairs with a comprehensive programme of works for all properties based on the life cycle of the property and equipment therein, which did not distinguish between rural and urban dwellings. It was always a tenant’s choice to accept repairs to the property and sometimes they did refuse resulting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

BTAC BUDGET pdf icon PDF 195 KB

A report by the Section 151 Officer.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Finance presented the report to the committee stating that Members of the Committee would be well aware of the context in which the tabled budget along with recent budgets had been set, being in times of continuous change and significant financial challenge for councils. They had included ongoing reductions in grant support from the government, the impact of welfare reform, changes to the mechanism upon which central government support is allocated, and the proposed future moves for further localisation of the business rates regime. BTAC’s support included Footway Lighting, Central Park and open spaces maintenance, Public Conveniences and the Community Toilet Scheme; all key areas where the reduction in funding as a result of national policy would otherwise have seen the loss or severe reduction of some or all of these important services.   In addition, the Committee had introduced BTAC Operatives, with a broad remit to maintain the BTAC area and improve the appearance of the town, and their efforts are producing tangible changes to the town’s look and feel. This is alongside the replacement of 90 litter bins in the town area. The Committee had also agreed extra Events funding, to support and enhance the range of events and activities for local people.   Over recent years, BTAC had played a key role in helping keep the town clean and welcoming for residents, businesses and visitors, and introduced initiatives to maintain and provide services that people value highly. Without the Committee’s support the Borough Council would have had to make decisions that would have proved very difficult.  Going forward, BTAC would play its part in deciding how and what future services are delivered in the town given the likely resources available to it and the Borough, and this budget will enable the new BTAC Committee to consider its priorities for the coming years.

Following the budget workshop delivered earlier in January, four options to illustrate the effects of changes to the assumptions on Council Tax identified the Council Tax projections and implications for the Committee’s resources based on feedback from members on the preferred scale of future BTAC operations and council tax levels going forward.

(a)       The proposed increase of 1.35% in 2022/23, then 1% p.a.

(b)       No increase in 2022/23, then 1% p.a.

(c)        An increase of 0.5% in 2022/23, then 1% p.a.

(d)       An increase of 1.0% in 2022/23, then 1% p.a.

The proposed budget requirement for 2022/23, and demand on Council Tax being:

Budget Requirement.  2021/22 £716.192.      2022.23 £732.864

Adjusted Tax Base.  2021/22 9.505.9      2022/23  9.597.4

Band D Equivalent (a-b)/c   2021/22 £75.34.     2022/23  £76.35

 

Committee deliberation followed which included:

 

Whilst some Members were reluctant to agree any increase in light of the current economic situation particularly in respect of predicted increases in gas and electricity prices, they did recognise the need to ensure continuity of funding and felt it fiscally irresponsible not to agree an increase.  BTAC was committed to provide certain services including the recent successful implementation of closing the gates at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

WORK PROGRAMME - STANDING ITEM pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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

Minutes:

Members were advised that an additional meeting had been scheduled for the 14th April 2022 to accommodate outstanding reporting.

 

Committee agreed to undertake two reviews to report back to the 14th April meeting.  

The first review would be the current grants scheme which would be facilitated by the grants working group and supported by its officer. 

The second would be a review of the current Terms of Reference for BTAC and the membership was agreed of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Councillors Katie Chalmers and Martin Griggs and facilitated by the committee lead officer.

 

The Assistant Director – Leisure and Culture (Lead Officer for the committee) referenced a submission received from Transported to seek committee’s initial agreement for them to position a bouy within Central Park to allow an extension to the trails.  Should committee agree the initial siting in the park, Transported would progress the project with submission of an application for £1000 through the small grants scheme.

 

Members questioned the proposed site of bouy within the park indicated within the brief information provided, and also voiced concern at the application for funding for £1000 which they felt could be spent more productively for children and, questioned how it aligned with any educational values.  Concern also noted spending of such a large amount on an item of art in the current economic climate and queried what the public would think.

 

The Chairman reiterated the initial request for committee to agree or not, of the actual siting in Central Park.  He stressed that the application for funding would be through the formal small grants scheme process and they would make a decision which would come to committee for ratification. The Assistant Director – Leisure and Culture confirmed that when the application for funding was submitted it would include all alignments to educational values.

 

Resolved:

The majority of Members agreed the initial request of siting the bouy within Central Park.

Transported be formerly invited to attend committee and present an overview of their activity within the borough, to date and moving forward.