Agenda and draft minutes

Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) - Thursday, 19th May, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room Municipal Buildings West Street Boston

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

Items
No. Item

55.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

To appoint the Chairman for the year 2022 – 2023.

Minutes:

Councillor Paul Goodale was appointed Chairman.

56.

APPOINTMENT OF VICE CHAIRMAN

To appoint the Vice Chairman for the year 2022 – 2023.

Minutes:

 

Councillor Stephen Woodliffee was appointed Vice Chairman

 

57.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were tabled by Councillors Alan Bell and Deborah Evans.

58.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting.

Minutes:

A Member referred committee to a notation within the minutes in respect of the benefits of a previous report a few years earlier on the integration of new arrivals into Boston. 

Whilst the minute noted the comments made, the Member clarified that what they had requested was that a similar report on the arrival of a new demographic of residents from Romania and Bulgaria be tabled, to enable members to gain a perspective into how they had settled and to help integration for the new arrivals.  The Member further noted their appreciation for the clarity of the minutes produced stating that the deliberations at that meeting had been very varied and the narrative could have been lost.

The Chairman confirmed that the request could be discussed during committee’s deliberation of the forthcoming work programme.

The Chairman signed the minutes of the previous meeting.

59.

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:

The Assistant Director – Culture and Leisure (Lead Office for the Committee) confirmed that following the request by committee at its last meeting that Portfolio Holders be invited to attend and support reporting under their respective portfolio’s, an email had been issued to Cabinet Members advising them of the request.

60.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

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

Minutes:

NONE

61.

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 16th May 2022.

Minutes:

NONE

62.

PUBLIC SPEAKING TIME

To allow members of the public to address the Committee.

Minutes:

NONE

63.

BTAC FINANCIAL STATEMENT AS AT 31 MARCH 2022 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

 

A report by the Interim Strategic Finance Manager

                            

Minutes:

It is recorded that this item was taken first as against the Transport Arts item identified first as per the agenda

 

The Interim Strategic Finance Manager presented the report confirming that there had been a total expenditure of £654,183 against a precept of £716,192 resulting in a surplus of £62.009.    Committee would be carrying forward a reserve balance of £222.867 which less allocated funds resulted in £149.781 available funds for the committee.

 

Committee deliberation and questioning followed which included:

 

Seeking clarification on how reduced collections on Council Tax would affect the budget, a Member asked if an increase in the percentage of non-payers would impact on the income and also if Officers could provide a breakdown of BTAC collection rates against those of the Council. 

The Portfolio Holder advised that as at the 31st March 2022 the collection rate had been 94% equating to over £35million.  The rate was 1.87% below pre covid levels and whilst he appreciated concerns tabled about the impact of the recession and increases in utilities and other costs, he was confident that whilst they were allowed a certain amount of discretion, collection levels would remain over 90%.  The Interim Strategic Finance Manger confirmed he would provide the comparative information requested.

Referencing the £150 Government refund for all households, Members questioned when it would be available for residents within the borough and also what measures were in place for residents who did not pay by direct debit, and also for those who did not have internet access and were often the ones who needed the rebate the most.  The Interim Strategic Finance Manager confirmed that payment to all direct debit payers should be within 14 days.  The Portfolio Holder advised that only when rigorous testing had been completed, would letters which would be addressed personally to the residents, be issued advising that the form was available on line for them to complete.  The letters could possibly be issued towards the end of May but equally it could be in June.  Further options would be available for residents who did not have internet access including telephone contact if necessary and the Portfolio Holder reassured committee every effort would be made to ensure the non-direct debit paying residents received their rebate.  

It was further agreed that information on all the schemes that are available to assist residents with financial matters during the current economic climate, be made as accessible as possible.

 

64.

TRANSPORTED ARTS

A verbal update by a representative of Transported Arts.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Mr Nick Jones of Transported Arts to the committee and thanked him for his time in attending. The Chairman also introduced and welcomed Mr David Worthington the Council’s new Events Officer to his first BTAC committee meeting.

Mr Jones provided a thorough presentation which included confirmation that Transported was the Arts Council Creative People and Places programme for Boston and South Holland who have been awarded a further £850 000 to take them  through to 2025.  That had changed the position of Transported to being one of National Portfolio Status which better supported a more sustainable funding opportunity going forward with an application process every 3 years, the outcome of which whilst never guaranteed, did  bring it in line with the NPO programme.  Their role was specifically about reaching people that did not normally take part in arts projects, and about identifying where projects bring value to the place, enhancing unattractive areas, improving people’s health, and building a sense of pride in our communities.

 

It was overseen by an independent consortium management group, with Boston In Bloom, Boston College, Tonic Health Charity, BBC, SHDC and LCC, alongside our lead organisation, The Centre for Culture and Creativity at the University of Lincoln.   It had been one of the first 8 Pilot projects that got the arts council investment with 43 pilots now in place.

 

Providing a brief history to understand how the journey had evolved, members were advised that initially a whole year of consultation had taken place to identify peoples’ priorities and needs including how the public felt about where they lived, what they would like to see and what they would like to participate in. That ethos had remained in place and the new programme, Time and Tide, had been shaped by the ideas and ambitions, opportunities and needs of their partners.

The main themes, Festivals and Outdoor events, Public Art, Age focussed projects for young and old, Health and Wellbeing reflect the expressed priorities of the place.

Addressing the history and work over the previous three years which had culminated in the Time and Tide programme, Mr Jones advised that a key part of their work was their innovative work with younger residents

The Time and Tide Programme had age specific projects for young people and older residents. It reflected the learning over the last few years and the need to actively engage with young people, because they are the citizens of the future, future artists’ dancers and musicians, and future audiences.

Transported had been working with young people from the outset, in bigger projects, such as the festival and also through discrete projects.

In Partnership with Boston College Transported had worked with East Side Educational Trust, funded by Arts Council England to run the “I know I wish I Can” programme of workshops along with a Poetry Slam performance for 7 Primary schools and special school pupils. Hundreds of young people took part and created original poems and then performed and recorded them, creating  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

WORK PROGRAMME - STANDING ITEM pdf icon PDF 121 KB

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

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Culture and Leisure referenced the work programme updating on items scheduled for reporting moving forward.

 

An update report on the locking of the Central Park gates would be tabled to the September meeting.  The events report being confirmed for the same meeting.

 

The budget report would be tabled onto the February meeting.

 

Following member discussions the following items were agreed:

 

It was agreed to provide an annual tour around the parks and toilets on the day of the next scheduled meeting on the 7th July 2022. 

With a request for urgent consideration in respect of the quality of the children’s play area in Central Park, it was agreed to draft a report with costs of resurfacing only and also resurfacing with new equipment, and following a viewing during the tour, committee to determine at the meeting the same evening. 

 

Following an update in respect of new toilets provision at the previous meeting, members requested a follow up report on the outcomes at the July 7th meeting.  It was noted the report was being tabled through Cabinet for final determination but as a consultee BTAC requested a follow up report as one of the new pods was expected to be sited at Central Park and concern was also noted as to who would be responsible for the maintenance of the pods.

 

 

A report on the influx on the new residents from Bulgaria and Romania to be scheduled onto the programme once the reporting officer has confirmed a time line.

 

A report on BTAC employees responsible for the maintenance including cleaning of the town, to be scheduled onto the programme once the reporting officer had confirmed a time line.

 

As a point of information within the meeting it is recorded that the Portfolio Holder referenced information requested within the minutes of the previous meeting in respect of the re settlement scheme for Ukrainian immigrants.  He confirmed that across Lincolnshire 381 offers of accommodation had been approved with 140 properties being occupied. A large number of visa’s had been awarded to applicants that had not as yet travelled to the U.K.  Guest arrivals were 271 and in respect of district and borough inspections, Boston had received 26 referrals with 26 properties having been inspected

 

The Chairman closed the meeting thanking members for their significant deliberations.