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FINANCE MINUTES

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 15 DECEMBER 2009, 1900-20305

 

PRESENT: Cllrs Glew, Irwin, Martin, Mitchell

Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

 

Line
F09/10.32 Apologies and reasons for absence. None, all present.
F09/10.33 Personal/prejudicial interests. Disclosure by Members of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regarded the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. Cllr Wright declared her personal/prejudicial interest in F09/10.43 by virtue of her being Chairman of the Council.
F09/10.34 Representation by prejudiced members: Cllr Wright's request to speak about the Chairman's Allowance in due course was approved by the Chairman.
F09/10.35 Public participation session. No public present despite the Council sending out an invitation for the public to attend this and the previous budget meeting.
F09/10.36 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 20/10/09.
F09/10.37

Grants/prizes received. During this financial year, a total of £10,873 in grants/prizes is now expected to be received, broken down as follows:

  1. Pavilion income: £6,832.
  2. Red Barn Field Maintenance (from Societies Association): £300 (two years).
  3. Village of the Year prizemoney: £1,300 (East Sussex and All England Community Champion). The following use of the prizemoney was noted:-
    1. Payment for cakes on pavilion open afternoon 31/07/09 and cakes and hire of hall for judging on 28/09/09 (approved C09/10.73.3.1).
    2. Financial support for sign on A21 (proportion of £800 agreed C09/10.73.3.2).
    3. Energy conservation and sustainability projects (proportion of £800 agreed C09/10.73.3.3).
    4. Communication with youths to encourage them to take part in local authority work (proportion of £800 agreed C09/10.73.3.4). This proposed use may be deleted because of a lack of interest amongst the older youth of the Village shown by none coming to the November 2009 Council Meeting as invited.
    5. £500 awarded November 2009. There was a limited discussion of the use to which this prizemoney should be put. The Clerk suggested purchase of a new mobile projection screen for the village hall although several older screens are available in the hall. A heavy duty procinema screen (widescreen format) 1.9m wide could be purchased for £265 plus delivery. A smaller tabletop screen could be obtained for £129 plus delivery. Other ideas were as part of the Pump/Pumphouse Project, towards the proposed Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) or play equipment. No decision was made and members agreed to give the matter further consideration.
  4. Playing Field Trust grant: £1741 - could be less depending on amount spent.
  5. Quality Council payout - about £1,400 expected to be paid over the next two years. Use to be approved. RECOMMENDED: That the Quality Council payout is put towards purchase of a new village sign.
F09/10.38

Jobs Update

  1. Red Barn Field
    1. Red Barn Field Grass. The last Committee Meeting had agreed that attempts should be made to get the grass cut in February 2010 as well as in late summer. However, it was agreed to wait to see what the ground conditions are like nearer the time. RECOMMENDED: That the Clerk is authorised to make the necessary arrangements for the 2010 maintenance of the Red Barn Field Nature Park.

  2. Sportsfield
    1. Pavilion final payment. Cllr Rand reported that the snagging work had been completed by Steed Construction Ltd. and that the retention fee of £3,290 is now due to be paid by the Council. An invoice is awaited and funds are in hand.

    2. Portacabin(s). Westfield Football Club had been given several portacabins and, therefore, did not need the one at the Sportsfield. Cllr Rand is to arrange disconnection of both portacabins and, if possible when the ground conditions are right,to move the large portacabin temporarily to the car park. It will be sold as soon as possible. The small portacabin belongs to the Sedlescombe Football Club and must be removed in the near future.

    3. Closure of gate and replacement of front fence. At the last Committee Meeting, it had been agreed that quotes would be obtained for post and rail fencing along the pavement side of the sportsfield. It was agreed that, with the Sports Association's approval, hedging should be planted in front of the fence. The Clerk had discussed the fencing with Ashley Davey, Chairman of the Sports Association, and had agreed with him that the Council would not replace the fence until the ground conditions have allowed the Association to install the concrete slab for the replacement garage.

    4. Car Park at Sportsfield. Nothing further to report on what was agreed at F09/10.18.7 in October 2009.

    5. Proposed hedging along river and ditch. Ashley Davey, Chairman of the Sports Association, had written to the Parish Council requesting permission to plant low hedges on the top of the riverbank and along the edge of the ditch on the south and north sides of the Sportsfield to stop balls being lost or being difficult to retrieve. Anything planted within 8 metres of the top of a riverbank has to be approved by the Environment Agency and, therefore, the Clerk had received an e-mail confirmation that the planting of a hedge on the top of the bank is agreed in principle by the Agency but the species should be agreed with the Biodiversity Officer. The Clerk reported a recent meeting with Cllr Dellow and David Bonsall of the Woodland Trust to discuss the Trust's possible involvement with provision of trees for this project.
      Members discussed the subject and RECOMMENDED: That the Sports Association's request for permission to plant hedges on the riverbank and beside the ditch is refused because low hedges will not solve the problem with balls any better than current riverbank barriers but will impose further maintenance work on the Association, could obstruct the access for dealing with giant hogweed outbreaks beside the river and create problems for maintaining the ditch as there is no other legal access to the ditch than from the sportsfield side.

  3. Village Green
    1. Pictorial Sign. Unfortunately, the work of the two firms spoken of at the last meeting is not near Sedlescombe and, therefore, difficult to view. The Clerk had obtained two further quotes. RECOMMENDED: That the quote of £1,440 + carriage and VAT is accepted from "Signs of the Times" of Leighton Buzzard for a two sided village sign to the existing design, cast in solid rigid polyurethane with letters, border and other detail in relief, to fit the existing bracket.

    2. Sir John Keeling teak seats. Cllr Rand expects to do the cleaning work before Christmas 2009.

    3. Pumphouse and Pump Restoration. See Minute F09/10.18.12 of 20/10/09. The Clerk and Cllr Mitchell, Chairman of the Heritage Committee, had met three suppliers of iron fencing at the Pump to discuss possible designs. Quotations as follows had been invited 1) To remove iron railings currently situated around the disused pump. Work to be carried out in co-operation with the contractor who will refurbish the pump. 2) To install replacement railings in a different position from floor to ceiling to a design agreed by Sedlescombe Parish Council and to include access to the pump. Work to be carried out immediately following refurbishment of the pump.

      The two quotations received by the due date were opened from 1) Ironworks UK Ltd. of Wheel Lane Business Park, Westfield and 2) F E Philcox Ltd. of 24 Church Road, Catsfield. Both quotes were similar in price and would be acceptable if funding can be obtained. RECOMMENDED: That the Pump Project is referred back to the Heritage Committee for further action.

      Although another leadworker, in addition to RPJ Leadwork, had been contacted, he did not appear to be interested in quoting for work to the outer lead and inner wooden casing. Further discussions will take place with RPJ Leadwork and anyone who can help with restoration of the pump itself.

      The Clerk and Cllr Mitchell had also met with David Barnes of LWA Bodyshop, Sedlescombe, who had explained the sort of sandblasting work he could get done for £300-£400/day.

  4. Tree work
    1. Various tree work. Cllr Martin had met two of the three treework contractors invited to quote for work in Sedlescombe. The work within the Conservation Area had been approved by Andrea Ingram, Rother District Council's Tree Officer. The quotes received from 1) Chaffin Tree Surgery and 2) GK Tree Surgeons were opened. RESOLVED: That the Clerk is authorised to accept the lowest price for the following work, after confirmation of the price from one of the contractors:
      1. Oak in front of Brickwall Hotel on Village Green. Remove dead wood, lift canopy all round, remove sucker growth.
      2. Oak at side of tennis courts. Remove suckers to main forks and remove two low branches.
      3. Thorn and Ash at rear of Sportsfield Pavilion. Remove.
      4. Willow in ditch at Sportsfield Car Park. Remove.
        All debris to be removed from the site.

    2. To note situation with cable over oak tree on Village Green. A telephone cable had been placed above an oak tree across the Village Green by BT. The Clerk had been informed by BT that they have rights to install "flying wires" wherever they like and that, if the Council wants the wire moved to a nearby post that will not affect any trees, it will have to pay for the work. The Committee agreed to take no action.

  5. Weedkilling contract. RESOLVED: That Languard Ltd's weedkilling contract for 2010 is renewed as follows:
    1. Application of herbicide to edges of the tennis courts, public car park at Brede Lane and access path adjacent to surgery, Pumphouse at the Village Green, Red Barn Field Nature Park footpath, Sedlescombe Sportsfield Car Park three times during the season for £920+VAT.
    2. Monitoring and treatment of Giant Hogweed as required during the season for £350+VAT.

  6. Riverside
    1. New litter bin at Playground. RESOLVED: That arrangements are made for an ordinary litter bin to be installed at the Riverside playground with a notice asking people to take recyclable items away.
    2. Adjustments to main gate at Playground. To be undertaken by John Bartholomew.
    3. Adjustment of swing chains at Playground. Cllr Glew reported complete.
    4. Cat springer resetting at Playground. To be undertaken by John Bartholomew.
    5. Repair/replacement of motorbike springer. To be repaired if anyone who can weld heavy gauge plastic can be found
    6. Multi-use games area (MUGA) at tennis courts. Other MUGAs to be inspected by councillors.
 
F09/10.39 Advertising in 2010 Directory. The Clerk informed the Committee that she had already received three requests for inclusion in the 2010 Directory from businesses outside of Sedlescombe. RESOLVED: That the one from a dentist in Hawkhurst would be included if NHS Patients are accepted. The other two (Sedlescombe Golf School and a Battle Plumber) would be accepted for inclusion in the 2010 Directory as would other suitable adverts received from outside the parish.
F09/10.40

Assets

  1. The Clerk had recently attended a conference at which a talk was given on "Managing Council Assets". Members noted that the following was suggested, most of which this Council does anyway:
    1. Know what you own
    2. Consider why you have the asset?
    3. Is it fit for purpose?
    4. How much does it cost?
    5. Can you hand it over to a Trust?
    6. Can you reduce running costs?
    7. Are proper charges being made?
    8. Can the asset work harder?
    9. How much will it cost over the next ten years?
    10. To be vigilant in asking for benefits through Section 106 Agreements on Local Development Framework sites.
  2. Asset Register. RESOLVED: That the updated 2010 Asset Register is approved.
F09/10.41 Grants to the Playing Field Trust. RESOLVED: That the Trust's request for £1,000 grant aid is approved.
F09/10.42

Clerk's expenses from 01/04/2010. See F08/09.45 for current payment approval.

  1. Maintenance of offices. RESOLVED: That a grant of £200 is made to the Clerk for maintenance of offices in 2009/10.
  2. Phone line rental, internet charge and phone calls. RESOLVED: That the Clerk should be reimbursed 50% of her phone line rental, internet charge and phone calls.
F09/10/43

Chairman's Allowance. Cllr Wright declared her personal and prejudicial interest in this matter by virtue of her being Chairman of the Council. The Chairman gave Cllr Wright leave to speak to the Committee. Cllr Wright suggested that the Council return to its previous practice of paying the Chairman the full £200 in July rather than paying on presentation of receipts only. Cllr Wright left the meeting.

RESOLVED: That a payment of £200 is made to the Chairman of the Council in July 2010 for the 2010/11 year and that the Chairman is advised to retain receipts of expenditure.

F09/10.44

Responsible Financial Officer's delegated financial powers. RESOLVED: That the following RFO's financial delegated powers are extended into 2010/11 as follows:

  1. Purchase of petty cash items up to £20/month.
  2. Approval of minor grounds maintenance expenses up to £75/month.
  3. Purchase of stationery including copier toner up to the annual budget figure.
  4. Booking training for councillors and the Clerk/RFO up to the annual budget figure.
F09/10.45 2010/11 Second draft Budget and 2010/11 Precept recommendation to Council. Members had been sent the third quarter review and overall summary (attached). RECOMMENDED: That the 2010/11 precept for Sedlescombe should be £31,500, ie no increase over 2009/10.
F09/10.46 Freedom of Information request for information regarding Grounds Maintenance Contracts. Together with many other councils, the Clerk reported receipt of a FOI request for detailed information on its grounds maintenance contracts. In accordance with the legal requirement to provide the information, the required information had been forwarded to the company.
F09/10.47 Date of next meeting: 30/03/10
  Chairman........................................... Date............................................................