Agenda and minutes

Full Council - Monday, 4th March, 2024 6.30 pm

Public access to this meeting is available via between the hours of 6.15pm – 6.30pm via the main door of the Municipal Buildings on West Street, Boston

Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR

Contact: Pippa Rose, Democratic Services Officer  Telephone 01205 314228 e-mail  pippa.rose@boston.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

158.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Alison Austin and Claire Rylott.

159.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 211 KB

 To agree the minutes of the meetings held; 13th November 2023 and 15th January 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 13 November 2023 and 15 January 2024 were agreed and signed by the Mayor.

160.

COMMUNICATIONS

Minutes:

The Chief Executive gave notice to Members that :-

 

·         In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, all votes on the budget and council tax setting reports would be taken as recorded votes.

 

·         The sad news was reported that Viven Edge, a previous Boston Borough Councillor from 2015 - 2022, had passed away. Condolences were offered to her family at this time by the authority.

 

·         One of the officers, Nigel Hall, would be retiring on 22 March after 43 years of service to the Council.

 

Councillor Anne Dorrian also wished to thank Nigel Hall for his service on behalf of the Council.

161.

DEPUTATIONS AND PETITIONS

Minutes:

The Chief Executive confirmed there were no Deputations or Petitions received.

162.

QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS

Minutes:

The Chief Executive advised that the following questions had been received:

 

Question from Councillor Stephen Woodliffe to Councillor Anne Dorrian

 

“As reported in the Boston Standard, Barclays Bank has given notice that its branch in Boston’s Market Place will close permanently at noon on Friday 10th May (2024).  Barclays Bank has written to its customers stating that it will be consulting Boston Borough Council, our Member of Parliament, and other affected groups prior to closure.

 

Has Barclays Bank sought the views of our Council yet and if so, what was our Council’s response?”

 

Response from Councillor Anne Dorrian

 

“I would like to thank Cllr Woodliffe for notice of his question. I am disappointed to report that neither officers nor portfolio holders at Boston Borough Council received any formal notification of the consultation regarding the closure of Barclays Bank in Boston’s Market Place.”

 

Question from Councillor Stephen Woodliffe to Councillor Anne Dorrian

 

“Given the very low response to the Greater Lincolnshire Devolution Project consultation, apparently a mere 0.365% participation or 1 in 274 of the adult population, do you consider that there is any justifiable reason for Greater Lincolnshire continuing this controversial devolution project in its current form?”

 

Response from Councillor Anne Dorrian

 

“The consultation response was dire and in my view does not provide a sound basis with which to proceed with such an enormous change to local government arrangements.”

 

Question from Councillor Stephen Woodliffe to Councillor Sandeep Ghosh

 

“It has been pointed out to me that the fund for the replacement of the refuse vehicles appeared to be missing from the Budget Overview 24/25 etc., as presented to the C&C Committee on Thursday 1st February 2024.  Is that the line (BC03) Neighbourhoods Vehicle Replacements in the New Capital Bids Section, in Table 12, page 24, of the Capital Programme (Funding and Resource Implication) in the Draft Budget Setting Report and if not has there been a change in the policy regarding the replacement of refuse vehicles?”

 

Response from Councillor Ghosh

 

“The refuse replacement was included within the Capital Programme that went to C&C on 1st February 2024, this was at page 40 of the agenda pack. Yes this is BC03 Table 12 page 24 of the Budget Report as noted within the Cllr question.

 

The refuse fleet replacement included within the BC03 'Neighbourhoods Vehicle Replacements' figure within the £2.004m for 2027/28, of this budget £1.785m relates to the refuse fleet with the remaining £219k being other vehicles within the service.

 

There has been no change with regards to plans to replace vehicles when their useful life has expired.”

 

Supplementary question from Councillor Stephen Woodliffe to Councillor Sandeep Ghosh

 

“Not so much a question as a comment. I sincerely hope that the figures here will suffice given the fact that we have suffered quite significant inflation recently. So, perhaps you would like to write to me, Councillor Ghosh, and confirm that actually the figures we have got here will ensure we will have sufficient funding for replacement vehicles.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 162.

163.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

Minutes:

The Chief Executive confirmed that no questions had been received from members of the public.

164.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

165.

Annual Budget Report 2024/25, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, and Annual Delivery Plan pdf icon PDF 302 KB

(A report of Christine Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development & Section 151 Officer)

 

Please note that in accordance with The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote will be taken on Budget recommendations.

 

(Members are reminded that if they are two months or more in arrears, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder – Finance presented a report by the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151), setting out the final detail of Council’s proposed Annual Budget Report 2024/25, five year Medium Term Financial Strategy from 2024/25 to 2028/29, Capital Programme, Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Strategy, Minimum Revenue Provision Policy and Annual Investment Strategy, and Annual Delivery Plan for 2024/25.

 

The report also included the recommended level of Council Tax for 2024/25 taking into account pressures including that of the Internal Drainage Board (IDB) levy.

 

The final budget included efficiencies that had been identified to support the short and medium term financial strategy (MTFS) and the remaining efficiency target still to be achieved against which a plan of activity had been developed.

 

During the debate the following comments were made;

 

·         The Portfolio Holder and Officers were thanked and commended and for managing to produce a balanced budget for the upcoming year.

·         Members were encouraged to learn that the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) loan had been paid off, and were assured that the State Street was being closely monitored.

·         Members discussed matters such as the internal drainage boards levies, income being used for pension strain, homelessness in the area, children living in poverty, the increase in internal audit fees, the decline in car parking income and the use of reserves.

·         Suggestions were made for the Council to focus more on new commercial opportunities in respect of increasing or bringing in new revenues / revenue streams through sponsorships, partnerships and other opportunities by working with the communities and businesses of the borough.

·         Comments were made in respect of the vacancies within the authority and the effect on employees’ budget.

·         Members noted that the Pay Policy Statement would be reported to another Full Council meeting as additional legal advice was required before a report could be submitted.

 

The recommendations were moved by Councillor Sandeep Ghosh and seconded by Councillor Anne Dorrian.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.         That the Revenue Estimates for the General Fund and Medium Term Financial Strategy for the period 2024/25 – 2028/29 (Appendices 1, 1a and 1b) be approved;

 

2.         That the Council Tax for a band D property in 2024/25 be set at £216.09 (a £7.20 per annum increase on 2023/24 levels) be approved;

 

3.         That the BTAC special expenses for a Band D property be set at £80.37 for 2024/25, (previously £79.38 in 2023/24);

 

4.         That the additions to and use of reserves for specific schemes (as detailed at Appendix 1) be approved;

 

5.         That Council re-affirmed its previous decision in respect of long-term empty properties, as set out in paragraph 4.8 of Appendix 1 within the report, and makes a determination for the introduction of the premium for substantially furnished with no resident (second homes), to be introduced at the earliest point, 1 April 2025;

 

6.         That the Medium Term Financial Strategy (at Appendix 1) be approved;

 

7.         That the Capital Programme and Capital Strategy (Appendices 1, 1c and 2) be approved;

 

8.         That the Treasury Management Policy 2024/25 (Appendix  ...  view the full minutes text for item 165.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Recorded Vote on Annual Budget Report 2024/25, Medium Term Financial Strategy, Capital Programme and Capital Strategy, Treasury Management Policy/Strategy, and Annual Delivery Plan Resolution

In accordance with Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the vote was taken as a recorded vote:

Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 166.

    Council Tax Setting 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 241 KB

    (A report of Christine Marshall, Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development & Section 151 Officer)

     

    Please note that in accordance with The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a recorded vote will be taken on Council Tax recommendations.

     

    (Members are reminded that if they are two months or more in arrears, they must disclose the fact and not vote on any item to set tax or any decision which may affect its calculation)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Portfolio Holder – Finance presented a report by the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151), setting out the proposed charge to be levied on the Council Taxpayers for the services provided in the Borough.

     

    The Boston Borough Council budget for 2024/25 had been considered by the Cabinet on 21st February 2024 and recommendations had been made to Council in respect of setting the band D Council tax at £216.09, a £7.20 (3.45%) increase on 2023/24. The Budget report was based on the finance settlement advised by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.

     

    The required resolutions for the approval of the levels of Council Tax are set out in Appendix A within the report.

     

    During the debate the following comments were made;

     

    ·         A request was made that, when reviewing the Council Tax Support Scheme within the forthcoming year, the Council consider improving the way that working families were supported. A joint scrutiny project was suggested as part of the consultation.

    ·         The Portfolio Holder and Officers were again thanked for doing a good job.

     

    The recommendations were moved by Councillor Sandeep Ghosh and seconded by Councillor Anne Dorrian.

     

    RESOLVED

     

    The Council approved the recommendations, as follows:

     

    1)    That the formal Council Tax resolutions for 2024/25 as set out in Appendix A and summarised at 4.1 be approved; and

     

    2)    That that the charge to be levied on the Council Taxpayers of Boston for services provided in their town (Boston Town Area Committee) be approved at £768,772 for 2024/25. This equates to a Band D equivalent charge of £80.37 (£79.38 for 2023/24), a 1.25% increase.

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Recorded Vote on Council Tax Setting 2024/25 Resolution

    In accordance with Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the vote was taken as a recorded vote:

    Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 167.

    Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 239 KB

    (A report of Christine Marshall – Deputy Chief Executive – Corporate Development & Section 151 Officer)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Portfolio Holder – Finance presented a report by the Deputy Chief Executive Corporate Development (S151), which sought approval of the Cabinet decision on the final proposals for the Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2024/25.

     

    Continuation of the current scheme would align the Council Tax Support scheme and uprating for working age customers with DWP provisions, which had been consistent each year since the introduction of the local scheme, and would maintain the position for 2024/25, pending a fundamental review of the scheme for future years.

     

    The recommendations were moved by Councillor Sandeep Ghosh Noble and seconded by Councillor Anne Dorrian.

     

    RESOLVED

     

    1)    That the current Council Tax Support scheme be continued, including uprating in line with DWP’s annual update of allowances and premiums for 2024/25; and

     

    2)    That a class for Care Leavers, up to the age of 25, be introduced within the scheme.

    168.

    South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership Performance Report pdf icon PDF 321 KB

    (A report of James Gilbert, Assistant Director – Corporate)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council presented an update on the progress of the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership since 18 September 2023.

     

    The report set out the progress made by the Partnership business case under the headings of:-

     

    ·         Annual Delivery Plan 2022/23 – The Annual Delivery plan activity was being monitored by the Joint Strategy Board to support the Partnership in delivering on its priorities, as well as sovereign Council ambitions.

    ·         Performance Framework 2023/24 – The performance measures had been reviewed for 2024/25 and set out in the Framework in Appendix A within the report. It was recommended to continue on the current suite of measures wherever possible to allow the Council to build up trend reporting over time.

    ·         Peer Challenge Update – The Partnership LGA Peer Challenge had taken place in October 2022. The Peers’ findings and feedback had been reported to Council and fed into the Partnership’s development plans for 23/24 and beyond. A follow up visit was carried out on 28th  September 2023 to explore progress against each of the original recommendations where the Peers had noted a significant amount of progress which had been made to deliver on their 2022 recommendations.

    ·         Priority Partnerships Update – A number of key Partnerships had been established as mechanisms for delivering the strategic priorities for the Partnership, which were set out within the report.

    ·         Growth and Prosperity Priority Partnership – the Growth Team continued to work with new and existing partners.

    ·         Healthy Lives Priority Partnership – the South & East Lincolnshire Partnership Healthy Living Board was continuing to work with partners to help residents lead healthy, long and fulfilling lives.

    ·         Safer Communities Priority Partnership – there had been two meetings of the South and East Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership since the last update, in October 2023 and February 2024 respectively, details of which were included within the report.

    ·         Enhancing the Living Environment Priority Partnership – the South and East Lincolnshire Climate Action Network (SELCAN) / Environment Priority Partnership had met in November 2023, and the sub-groups have been having joint meetings throughout the year with others working towards similar priority proposals. Further details were included within the report

     

    The recommendations were moved by Councillor Anne Dorrian and seconded by Councillor Dale Broughton.

     

    RESOLVED

     

    1.         That the progress of the Annual Delivery Plan (ADP) 2023/24 (section 2 within the report) be noted;

     

    2.         That the Performance Framework 2024/25 (section 3 within the report) be noted;

     

    3.         That the Peer Challenge update (section 4 within the report) be noted;

     

    4.         That the updates from the Priority Partnerships (section 5 within the report) be noted; and

     

    5.         That the Partnership Scrutiny update (section 6 within the report) be noted.