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FINANCE MINUTES

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 29 JUNE 2010 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL, 19:00-20:48

 

PRESENT: Cllrs Glew, Martin, Mitchell

Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council), Councillor A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

 

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F10/11.1 Election of Chairman of the Committee. RESOLVED: That Cllr Glew be Chairman of the Committee for the ensuing year.
F10/11.2 Apologies and reasons for absence. Cllr Irwin (ill).
F10/11.3

Interests. Disclosure by Members of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. The following interests were declared:

F10/11.10 - all councillors, personal and prejudicial interest in the Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust by virtue of the Parish Council being the sole trustee of the Trust. However, dispensation has been granted by Rother District Council for all members to take part in that part of the agenda.

F10/11.4 Prejudiced members' participation. None.
F10/11.5 Public participation session. No public present.
F10/11.6 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 30/03/10.
F10/11.7 2009/10 Final Accounts. All members had been provided with details of the final figures for the 2009/10 financial year at the Council's Annual Meeting. No issues raised by members.
F10/11.8

Audit of Accounts

  1. Internal Audit 2009/10. Satisfactorily completed by Mrs V Bennett who has undertaken the internal audit for the last three years. She has informed the Council that she will not be available to do the audit for 2010/11.
  2. Internal Audit 2010/11. A replacement internal auditor will, therefore, need to be found in the near future and the Clerk/RFO will obtain quotes for the next meeting. It was noted that the cost of the audit will probably rise considerably next year.
  3. External Audit 2009/10. The Clerk had been informed that the External Audit had been completed satisfactorily. However Mazars, the Auditors, will be returning the Annual Return for amendment because Rother's early payment of half the precept for 2010/11 should have been included in the "Receipts in Advance" box on the adjustment form rather than on the Annual Return. It was noted that the Auditor had asked a question regarding calculation of the proposed Clerk's Gratuity (in accordance with the Clerk's Contract dating from 1979) and had suggested a change in dates of approval of parts of the form for next year.
F10/11.9

Jobs Update

1. Red Barn Field

  1. Drainage.
    1. Land drainage. Cllr Rand still intends to meet with Philip Dann concerning some snagging following drainage work earlier this year. The Council has already agreed in principle to undertake further drainage work, if required (C09/10.127.20) and has allocated £1,600 in the amended budget. Water is still dripping from the new pipe that was inserted below the pond level earlier this year. It was noted that the pond is still full of water, although it usually dries out in the summer, and water is still overflowing from it into the ditch (presumably water is still entering the pond from somewhere, although the old pipe has been disconnected).
    2. Wells. Cllr Rand intends to make arrangements for repairs to the well tops in Red Barn Field, as already approved by the Council.
    3. Water draining from Red Barn Field. Earlier this year, spring water caused problems on the path in the Field and in Short Hill and the County Council was asked to install a drain halfway down the hill. The County Council inspector had informed the Clerk that this would not be any use as the hill is too steep. He has agreed, however, to carry out some work at the junction of Short Hill and the B2244 in order to help reduce the flow of water onto the highway where substantial patches of ice had formed in the harsh winter weather. Cllr Rand would speak to Philip Dann about what could be done in the Field. No decision was made about asking Ecoflo of Stream Lane to investigate.
  2. Maintenance
    1. Pond, including sign. Colin Boyd had reported that the barley straw had helped a little in the pond but he is still removing the blanket weed. Some flote grass is being left to help oxygenation. The Palmate newt population is healthy and there are breeding Large Red Damselflies and regular Hoverflies (Helophilus & Eristalis). Roger Wood will paint the warning sign next to the pond.
    2. Grass. Colin Boyd is removing creeping thistle and ragwort. Cllr Rand has arranged with David Blowey to cut and bale the Field later in the summer.
    3. Bracken. Hastings Conservation Volunteers team have agreed to remove the bracken on 25/07/10.
    4. Seeds and plants. The cessation of grazing has allowed the wildflowers to increase dramatically this year, back to what it was like pre-grazing. There has been plenty of Vetch & Tare, Trefoil & Clover, many more Ox-eye Daisies and other flowers. Colin Boyd has introduced Yellow Rattle and other seeds. He would like to see a proper botanical survey undertaken.
    5. Wildlife. Blackcap and Whitethroat have almost certainly bred again this year in the Nature Park. There have been bees, butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers and other insects in abundance. Colin Boyd's insect photos have been placed on the Parish Council website. Common lizard have been seen. Colin Boyd's very useful contribution towards maintenance and observation of Red Barn Field was acknowledged by the Committee. Members were in favour of running a moth trap in the Field.
    6. Gate. The Committee thanked Ralph Dellow for carrying out a difficult repair of the top gate.
    7. Lectern. The Committee thanked Ralph Dellow for carrying out repairs to the lectern. Ralph had said that the lectern is in a pretty poor state.

2. Sportsfield. Although this item was considered at the end of the meeting, it has been included under Jobs Update for convenience.

  1. Pavilion running costs. The Clerk had asked the Sports Association for information regarding its first year's actual running costs of the new pavilion and lettings etc. and had been informed that this would be looked at over the next month. There had been three non-sporting lettings of the pavilion in the last year for birthday parties. The Council had, in the run-up to obtaining funding for the pavilion, had to produce a draft income and expenditure table for the pavilion. This had included utilities and insurance costs. With a new Treasurer in place, the Sports Association had been looking at its insurance cover. A new Employer's Liability insurance had been taken out but the committee had decided against Public Liability Insurance because of the costs involved and because both the Football and Cricket Clubs have to have insurance. The Clerk/RFO had received e-mails from both the Secretary and the Chairman of the Sports Association expressing extreme concern about the Association's legal liabilities for damage to persons or property, either when the field or pavilion are hired by outside bodies or when used unofficially, ie in effect by trespassers, such as dog walkers.

    The Clerk/RFO explained to the Finance Committee that, through the Lease, the Council had granted the Association exclusive possession of the land and that, consequently, the Association has a legal "Duty of Care" towards anyone coming on to the premises, either the field or the pavilion. It is, of course, impossible for the Association to shut off the Sportsfield, because of the public right of way through it. It was noted that liability to "trespassers" under the "Occupiers' Liability Act 1984, is virtually the same as the duty of care owed to "visitors". The recent Lease Deed of Variation requires the Association to take out insurance to cover risks that the Landlord (ie the Council) deems it reasonable or desirable to insure against, including Landlord's liability.

    It was suggested that, maybe, the Sports Association could obtain funding to purchase Public Liability Insurance cover.

    RESOLVED: That the Committee agrees to meet the Sports Association Committee as requested and the Clerk/RFO is delegated to make the necessary arrangements.

  2. Portacabins. Following completion of emptying the portacabins, Grant Burberry, of the Sports Association will place both on E-bay, asking for offers, buyer collects.
  3. Garage replacement. The Sports Association had received grant aid for this project and, although it had been intended that volunteers would undertake the work, a local builder has now been engaged to advise and manage the project. Once the portacabins have been removed, the garage replacement will begin.
  4. Fence replacement. The replacement of the fence with a new post and rail one and removal of the gate will be undertaken by the Council, using money in the Sportsfield Fund, following completion of the portacabin sale and garage replacement. Quotes will be obtained in due course.
  5. Extension of the car park. From recent correspondence with the Sports Association, it appears that the Parish Council is expected to undertake this project, including submission of plans. It was suggested that this should be discussed at the forthcoming Sports Association/Parish Council meeting.

    Cllr Rand had inspected a broken manhole in the sportsfield car park which had been drawn to the attention of Clerk/RFO by the Sports Association. RESOLVED: That arrangements should be made for urgent repairs to be carried out to the manhole. Members queried why this and another manhole are situated on the sportsfield.

3. Ladybird Lane see Council Minute C10/11.20.5 for full details. The Committee noted:

  1. Council has agreed to fund the cost of tarmacing the sportsfield car park entrance (C10/11.20.5.1) by 02/04/11 subject to agreeing the design.
  2. Repair work to the culvert at the Sportsfield car park entrance to be included (C10/11.20.5.2).
  3. Council to give the order for the work as at 1) and 2) above, receive the invoice and pay for the work.

Paul Evans of Pestalozzi International Village had acknowledged the Council's position. Pestalozzi Trustees are expected to make a decision on 28/07/10, if they have, by that time, received a reply from Oaklands/The Stables.

4. Village Green

  1. New pictorial sign purchase approved F09/10.38.3. Quality Council Grant received but half of the amount expected. F09/10.54.3 agreed use of the Village of the Year prizemoney to make up the balance (however, this was when a small shortfall was expected). RESOLVED: That the Clerk/RFO is authorised to arrange replacement of the village sign by Signs of the Times, detailed in their e-mail to the Council of 14/10/09.
  2. Sir John Keeling seats. Cllr Rand to do before the next meeting.
  3. Pumphouse and Pump restoration. Members were referred to the Minutes of the Heritage Committee Meeting held on 22/06/10 where work was approved between 01/07 and 30/09/10 as follows:
    1. Part 1 - funding in hand
      1. New railings - Ironworks UK Limited of Westfield (Clerk/RFO to contact Rother Planning Planning re the size of gaps in the railings)
      2. Lead/wood casings - RPJ Leadwork of Rye.
      3. Pumphouse restoration - BEM Builders of St Leonards
    2. Part 2 - funding including Parish Council contribution in hand
      1. Work to bring pump back into working condition - local plumber
      2. Education resources - local
  4. Fund-raising event on Village Green in 2011. RESOLVED: That the subject of whether this should be held would be considered by the full Council.

5. Riverside

  1. Litter bin. Re-installed by Roger Wood.
  2. Tennis courts seat back. Repaired by Roger Wood.
  3. Fence stakes. Replaced by Roger Wood.
  4. Cat springer and baby slide wash. Completed by Roger Wood.
  5. Moles. RESOLVED: That the Council should employ a Rother District Council pest control operative at the cost of £150 for the initial treatment on one or two visits.

6. East View Terrace Kickabout Area. Cllr Mitchell reported that the bin seemed to be overfull at times.

7. 2010 Directory. Two business adverts remain unpaid ie Clockhouse and J Saull-Hunt, despite frequent reminders from the Clerk/RFO. Members to try to get the money paid.

8 Bus shelter replacement. The planning application, which included a requirement from ESCC to replace the bus shelter, was again out for consultation. RESOLVED: That the Clerk/RFO and Cllr Glew be delegated to negotiate on behalf of the Council.

9. Winter maintenance. Although no details have been received, ESCC appears to be looking at parishes providing some funding snow/ice clearance from public places. The Clerk/RFO reminded the Committee that a parish council is under no duty to clear snow and ice from the highway or to provide grit and salt or grit bins.


10 Weedkilling. Specified areas were sprayed by Languard Ltd. on 23/06/10. The river banks between the A21 to the bridge and eastwards past the end of the sportsfield were also surveyed. One giant hogweed plant was treated just east of the bridge and four plants treated on the opposite bank from the footpath near the horses' field. No plants were found near the children's play area.

11. Mowing. Being undertaken by Roger Wood. He has provided a copy of his Certificate of Public and Product Liability Insurance with NFU Mutual with a limit of indemnity of £10 mn. for each.

12. Litter collection. Being undertaken by Roger Wood.

13. Lottery Licence renewal. The Council had obtained a Lottery Licence in January 2010 at a cost of £40. The renewal, due in January 2011, is expected to cost £20. Members were, mainly, in favour of renewing the licence but agreed to wait until the Council had considered whether a fund-raising event should be held on the Green next year (see F10/11.9.4.4 above).

F10/11.10

Playing Field Trust. Councillors declared their personal and prejudicial interests by virtue of the Council being the sold trustee of the Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust. Dispensation has been granted by Rother District Council.

RESOLVED: That an invoice for £1,000 should be sent to the Trust to cover maintenance work undertaken by the Parish Council on behalf of the Trust.

F10/11.11 Dog bin emptying charges. It was noted that Rother DC is now charging £6/week to empty Sedlescombe's three bins (£312 p.a.) inclusive of plastic sacks and management costs.
F10/11.12 2010/11 Budget Monitoring. Members had been provided with details of the revised 2010/11 budget and income and expenditure for the first quarter. The Chairman of the Committee drew attention to the increase in the SALC and NALC subs and agreed to raise the matter at the forthcoming meeting of RALC. The Clerk/RFO mentioned that she had received information that a further rise of 8% for Sedlescombe is expected in 2011/12. RESOLVED: That the 2010/11 First Quarter Review Figures are accepted.
F10/11.13 Savings Accounts. The Clerk/RFO reported that interest rates for the Council on its West Bromwich BS and Barclays Savings Accounts has dropped to 0.05% resulting in a significant drop in income from investments. The Committee agreed that the Clerk/RFO should look into the possibility of internet accounts for the Council by the use of PINsentry whereby two councillors each have a small hand-held device to insert a authentication card into to authorise payments. This had been suggested at a recent Legal & Finance SALC Training Day.
  Chairman...................................... Date....................................................