SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL

FINANCE COMMITTEE MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 16 OCTOBER 2007 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF THE VILLAGE HALL, 19:30 TO 21:02

Present: Cllr P Glew (Chairman of the Committee), Cllrs Irwin & Dellow, Cllr V Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council) [most of the meeting leaving at 20:45]. Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer - Mrs P J Raymond

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F07/08.14 Apology for absence was received from Cllr Martin (other engagement).

F07/08.15 Interests. In accordance with the Code of Conduct for Members adopted by the Council on 15/05/07, the following interests were declared:

F07/08.18.3 part
Cllr Rand
Personal/prejudicial interest
By virtue of his company carrying out work for the Council in connection with the portakabin at Sedlescombe Sportsfield
F07/08.23 part
All five councillors present
Personal/prejudicial interests
By virtue of the Council being the sole Trustee of the Sedlescombe Public Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust

Pursuant to a dispensation granted by the Standards Committee on 11/09/07, members are entitled to remain in the room, to speak and vote on matters relating to the Trust.

In accordance with paragraph 12(2) of the adopted Code of Conduct, Cllr Rand was permitted to make a report to the Committee on the portakabin. He reported that the Council had reimbursed his Company for the same expenses that he had incurred in obtaining the portakabin for the Sportsfield. His Company had incurred costs relating to plumbing materials and timber from Stamco for partitioning. The electrics had been installed by a Rangers' parent foc and the water had been connected. Benches will be required and Cllr Glew will ask her husband if he is willing to make them. Cllr Rand is obtaining a price for a small kitchen to be installed in the portakabin.

F07/08.16 Public participation. No member of the public present.

F07/08.17 Minutes. The Chairman was authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 28/08/07.

F07/08.18 Arising from the Minutes

  1. Transfer between funds. The RFO reported that the transfers between funds had been completed.
  2. Opening new accounts. The RFO reported that two new accounts had been opened. These are the Bank of Scotland Guaranteed 1 year Fixed Deposit (Clerk's Gratuity Fund) and the Barclays Bonus Business Account as amended by Council on 11/09/07 (Pavilion Fund).
  3. Sportsfield Fund and pavilion update & 4. Approval of new funding applications. CLLR RAND DECLARED HIS PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTEREST IN THE PORTAKABIN PART OF THIS ITEM BY VIRTUE OF HIS COMPANY CARRYING OUT WORK FOR THE COUNCIL AT THE PORTAKABIN. HE LEFT THE MEETING TO ALLOW THE REMAINDER OF THE COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS THE MATTER. RESOLVED: That the Council should continue to reimburse Fleetmark Services Ltd. for the work being carried out to the portakabin. Cllr Rand returned to take part in discussions regarding the Sportsfield Fund and pavilion which do not involve his Company. The RFO distributed statements of the current position of the Pavilion Fund. The following funding has been approved:

Rother Community Fund

£5,000

PJR

Battle Partnership (for 2007/8 financial year)

£2,000

PJR

Sedlescombe Societies Association (from 2007 Fete)

£1,000

RD

Parish Council

£20,000

Traditional Fayre on Green 22/09/07 and three donations

£1,063

RD

The following funding is in the pipeline:

Isabel Blackman Foundation

£5,000

Passed first stage of application process

Local Action Plan

£2,000

Submitted for portakabin & demolition and clearance. Awaiting next meeting

Police

£500

Submitted, awaiting result

Sports Association and other local fund-raising

£20,000

Sports Association Ongoing.
Other local fund-raising. Cllr Dellow reported a series of planned fund-raising events including raffles, gala dinner with speaker and May Fayre. It was agreed that the request for raffle prizes would be made to local businesses on Parish Council headed paper with "Pavilion Fund" beneath.

Football Foundation

£142,500

Invited to workshop, 08/11/07, 11:15. Football Development Plan accepted, plans still to be amended to accord with Football Foundation requirements, Business Plan awaiting approval

In addition, an application for £50,000 funding from the Lottery, Reaching Communities Fund has passed the first stage. The Committee agreed to wait for the result of the Football Foundation Workshop on 8 November before submitting the next stage form (must be submitted by 28/02/07).

F07/08.19 Audit of 2006/7 Parish Council Accounts. The audit of the 2006/7 accounts is now complete with both Internal and External Audits being carried out satisfactorily. Mrs Fisher no longer wishes to undertake the internal audit work and it will be necessary, therefore, to find a replacement for next year's accounts. It was agreed that the RFO should obtain some quotations to bring to the next meeting of the Finance Committee for consideration.

A new requirement for the audit of the 2006/7 accounts was a "Review of Effectiveness of the System of Internal Audit of the Accounts". Committee members had been provided with the RFO's Review dated 05/10/07 and agreed to accept the amendments to the current practice as specified in 1b and f. RESOLVED: That the RFO's Review of the effectiveness of the system of internal audit of the 2006/7 accounts is accepted.

F07/08.20 Review of Half-Yearly Statement of Accounts at 30/09/07. The Committee considered the following statement comparing the Actual income & expenditure April-September 2007 against the orginal budget:

Income
Budget Apr-Mar 2007-8
Actual Apr-Sept 2007-8
Precept
28270
28270
Sales
495
88
Interest
1725
2009
Income from rents
2
0
Agency services
275
285
Online submission refund
0
0
Grant income (including fund-raising
0
943
Playing field income
0
0
Total Income
30767
31595
Expenditure
Administration
7797
3733
Clerk's Salary/National Insurance
14320
7145
Village security
500
0
Grants awarded to other bodies
500
25
Sportsfield from fund
18165
2789
Agency services
200
88
Amenities
8507
1696
Playing field expenditure
3800
785
Total expenditure
53789
16261
SUMMARY
Brought forward
65028
65028
Income
30767
31595
Expenditure
-53789
-16261
Total
42006
80362
REPRESENTED BY
General funds
2186
23623
Unspecified youth work
1300
0
Village Security Fund
7000
7500
Sportsfield Fund
0
17719
Clerk's Gratuity Fund
26520
26520
Tennis Courts Fund
5000
5000
Total divided between funds
42006
80362

The RFO answered a question about the brought forward figure of £65,028 and referred the Committee to details contained in the Audited 2006/7 column of the summary on page 8 of the 2008-9 Budget Preparations document. Members discussed the Village Security Fund which the Internal Auditor had queried and agreed to wait until after the special meeting of the Crime & Safety Committee and Inspector Keating of Sussex Police had taken place on 19/10/07. Cllr Dellow reported that there is some money (£100+) left from the last financial year in the special PCSO overtime pot which the Parish Council had paid into.

F07/08.21 Initial Consideration of Autumn 2007 Residents' Parish Plan Consultation Results. The RFO reported that the closing date for return of forms was the previous day. Forms had been delivered to all 675 households in the parish in September. The result was a very poor 6.2% response (42 forms). However, lots of comments had been made on a wide range of topics and these would be considered at the next Council Meeting in November. From the Finance Committee' viewpoint, it was noted that 33 of the respondents wished the Parish Council to carry out a further Parish Plan consultation exercise in the parish. If agreed, this would result in increased costs for the budget either this year and/or next. It was also noted that although many of the comments would not involve the Parish Council in spending money, work such as installation of a footway in Sandrock Hill would. Currently, the Parish Council does not have the powers to spend more than allowed by the Free Resource, but the Government is expected to bring in the "power of well-being" for Quality Councils soon which will allow the Parish Council to spend without limit as it thinks fit (of course raised through the Council Tax).

F07/08.22 Grant aid to other bodies. The Committee noted that only £25 had so far been spent from the £500 Grant Aid to Other Bodies budget head. An application for funding from The Rural Rother Trust had been received and approved by the Parish Council. The amount had been left to the Finance Committee after it had had sight of the accounts for last year. The accounts are now to hand and it was noted that four grants were made last year including one of £400 to Battle Guides. The Committee, whilst being pleased to support genuine need, especially in Sedlescombe, did not feel that the Parish Council should support Battle Guides. However, it was RESOLVED: That in accordance with the Council's powers under sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, a donation of £50 should be made to the Rural Rother Trust in 2007/8. This expenditure is in the interests of the area or its inhabitants and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with the expenditure.

This leaves £425 under this budget head for the year. It was noted that the Churchyard Fund had not yet submitted an application for grant aid although was expected to do so in the near future.

F07/08.23 Parish Council Finances 2007-8 and 2008-9. Members had been provided with a document prepared by the RFO entitled 2008-9 Budget Preparations. The Committee considered the Briefing Notes that accompanied it and the following decisions were made:

  1. 2008 Annual Directory and Business Section of the Website
    1. Size of adverts as in 2007. Larger business adverts would not be accepted but the Doctors would be allowed a free double-size advert in order to provide the Village with necessary information of their service.
    2. Business advertisers whether living in Sedlescombe or not to pay a minimum of £20 including VAT. This increase has been introduced in order to cover the cost of printing without any subsidy from the Parish Council.
    3. The £20 as in 2 above would provide free inclusion on the www.sedlescombe.org.uk website.
    4. New businesses to be allowed free inclusion in the website for the last quarter of the year as long as the business pays for inclusion in the printed Directory in January/February of the following year.
    5. The colour/black & white split would be as in the past.
    6. Councillors' pen pictures will be included in the 2008 Annual Report/Directory.
    7. Some people find it difficult to read the display of the subject heading at the side of the business adverts. The RFO was asked to try using a different, more straightforward font for this part of the Directory. Cllr Dellow mentioned that the text should be in size 14 to help people with poor eyesight.
  2. SALC/NALC subscriptions. The total SALC/NALC subscription for 2008/9 has been agreed at 26.93p/elector. If the Sedlescombe electorate remains as in 2007/8, the subscription will total about £300. The Committee considered whether, despite no apparent support for the idea, Sedlescombe should propose at the forthcoming SALC AGM that Quality Councils should receive a discount on their subscriptions.
    1. The proposal re Quality Council discounts would be made at the SALC AGM by Cllr Wright, seconded by Rye Town Council.
    2. RALC would be asked to raise the issue of the County Council, and possibly Rother, contributing towards the running of SALC as in other areas.
    3. If no discount is forthcoming, Sedlescombe Parish Council will continue to subscribe to SALC.
  3. Computer and Software. 18 months ago the Council's computer equipment was reviewed and the hardware and software acquired as a result are working extremely well. The only item outstanding from that review is the Dell Laptop Computer, provided originally by Rother District Council, and now surplus to requirements. The Council's current Adobe solftware particularly used for building the website needs replacing as it cannot be updated.
    1. Recommended: That the Dell Laptop and Printer would be made available to parish councillors to borrow on a short-term or longer-term basis.
    2. Recommended: That the 2007/8 Computer revised budget head is adjusted to £1500 to cover the cost of a Creative Suite 3 Master Collection obtained from the USA at the approximate cost of £1065.
  4. Clerk's Salary. The 2007/8 budget includes a 2% increase on the Clerk's Salary. However, there is still no resolution of the dispute between the NJC and the Local Government Employers who are claiming a 5% increase for this year. NALC/Society of Local Council Clerks follow the pay recommendations by the NJC. The draft 2008/9 budget for the Clerk's Salary is shown with a further 2.5% increase and this was approved by the Committee.
  5. Grant to Rural Rother Trust. See F07/08.22 above.
  6. Street Cleaning and Litter. Members had been provided with a detailed report about the problems arising from the new waste collection contract regarding street cleaning and litter and dog bin emptying. Suggestions were made by councillors that all the bins should be removed so that people had to take their litter and dog waste home with them and that the youngsters and schoolchildren should be encouraged to help clear up the litter but that the Parish Council should not pay for this. DECISION DEFERRED FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION.
  7. Village Green.
    1. Recommended: That £3,000 should be included in the 2008/9 budget to carry out work to the pump.
    2. The Committee decided to take no action regarding the trees on the Green which are growing up into BT overhead cables.
  8. East View Terrace Kickabout Area.
    1. Recommended: That the mowing frequency at the Kickabout Area should be increased to twice a month in line with the Riverside and strimming should be undertaken around the edges of the area.
    2. The chainlink fence should be given the minimum repair to safeguard helath and safety. Cllr Dellow received approval to purchase two stretcher bars to aid repair of the fence.
  9. Gammons Hill. Satisfactory.
  10. Brede Lane Car Park. The Committee agreed that the grass has been satisfactorily cut during 2007. The RFO will be meeting an officer of Rother District Council tomorrow at the car park to see whether the markings on the car park could be redone to allow a turning space at the bottom of the area. Members would like to see the recycling bins resited.
  11. Sportsfield Car Park. Minor work required.
  12. Red Barn Field.
    1. Recommended: That BTCV should be asked to clear the pond again.
    2. If possible, costings would be obtained for occasional grass cutting. Otherwise, the sheep will be allowed to continue grazing the land.
  13. Weedkilling.
    1. Recommended: That Languard should be employed again in 2008/9 on the same basis as 2007/8.
  14. County Council Parish Maintenance Team. The team will be asked to carry out the following work on behalf of the Parish Council next Spring:
    1. Clean plastic seat on Church Hill.
    2. Paint wooden seat outside Church.
    3. Clean stone footpath marker at top of Church Hill.
    4. Cut back herbage from footway at top of Church Hill
    5. Paint metal seat at East View Terrace outside flats.
  15. Queen's Head path. Completed.
  16. Bus Shelter. Developer of Park View, The Street, will be required by the County Council to replace the shelter. SPC's Planning Committee has submitted its requirements both to the County Council and the developer's agent.
  17. Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust. All Councillors declared their personal/prejudicial interests by virtue of the Parish Council being the sole trustee of the Ground. All members stated that pursuant to a dispensation granted by the Standards Committee on 11/09/2007, that they were entitled to remain in the room and to speak and to vote on the following matters.
    1. Hogweed removal. Recommended: That Languard is employed for the third and final year of treatment of the giant hogweed at the cost of £800.
    2. Playground Inspections. Recommended: That Glendale Services is contracted to carry out quarterly inspections of the Riverside Playground starting in March 2008 with an annual inspection next June.
    3. Tennis Courts. Recommended: That the public are allowed free use of the courts for the remainder of 2007 and during 2008. The Committee was informed that a meeting of the Trust would be held on 23 October regarding use of the tennis courts.

F07/08.24 De La Warr Pavilion Charitable Trust. Rother District Council had provided parish councils with a briefing paper on Rother's financial involvement with the Trust which has amounted to £500,000 p.a. for the last five years. A consultation exercise is being undertaken. The following would be passed to Rother:

For the following reasons, the Parish Council suggests that the De La Warr Pavilion is not supported by a district-wide rate but, because of the advantages that have been highlighted in the report "Creative Impact", it is supported through the Bexhill Council Tax. This is another reason why Bexhill should be parished.

Chairman...................................................... Date................................................................