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FINANCE MINUTES

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 14 DECEMBER 2010 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL, 18:55-19:50

 

PRESENT: Cllrs Glew, Marland, Martin, Vine-Hall

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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F10/11.40 Apologies and reasons for absence. None.
F10/11.41

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. The following interests were declared:

F10/11/49 All councillors Personal/prejudicial interests re the Playing Field Trust by virtue of the Parish Council being the sole Trustee of the Trust. Dispensation granted by Rother District Council.
F10/11.51 Cllr V Wright Personal interest re the Chairman's Allowance. Cllr Wright remained in the meeting.

 

F10/11.42 Representation by prejudiced members: None.
F10/11.43 Public participation session. No public present.
F10/11.44 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 19/10/10.
F10/11.45 Parish Maintenance Team. No reply received from East Sussex County Council.
F10/11.46 Update report on jobs. The jobs list was updated as attached.
F10/11.47 Parish Council signatories. It was noted that the Local Government Minister Grant Shapps announced in October that changes are planned to come into force in 2011 giving parish councils freedom to make use of modern banking methods such as electronic banking. However, safeguards are being considered to make sure that all the payments made by parish councils are legitimate and that there is no misuse of the system. These checks and controls will be designed by the National Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks.
F10/11.48

Ministerial statement re parish council precepts. The following information was made by Mr Eric Pickles in a Ministerial statement on 21/10/10:

  1. Parish councils will not be included in the new scheme to allow local residents to veto excessive council tax rises.
  2. Parish councils are being urged to "exercise restraint and make sure no council tax payer faces an increased bill".

Councillors attending a recent SALC training course in Rye commented that the possibility of the reduced ability of principal authorities to fund services could impact on the precept if the community wanted the Parish Council to take over the services, for example public conveniences. Unless reasonable funding was available from the principal authority, the only option would be for an increased precept resulting in an increased bill for the council taxpayer because it would be very difficult to find sufficient savings in the Parish Council budget.

F10/11.49

Grants to Playing Field Trust. Councillors declared their personal/prejudicial interest by virtue of the Council being the sole trustee of the Trust. All councillors had received dispensation and remained in the meeting.

 

It was noted that the Parish Council has provided £1,500 in grants to the Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust and the Trust has reimbursed the Council with £1,350. Further expenditure and, therefore, reimbursement is expected before the end of the financial year.

F10/11.50

Clerk's expenses from 01/04/2011 (see F09/10.42 for current payment approval)

  1. Maintenance of offices. RESOLVED: That the Clerk should receive a grant of £200 for the 2011/12 year for maintenance of offices.
  2. Phone line, internet charge and phone calls. RESOLVED: That the Clerk should receive reimbursement of 50% of her phone line, internet charge and phone calls in the 2011/12 year.
F10/11.51 Chairman's Allowance (see F09/10.43 for last payment approval). Cllr Wright declared her personal interest but remained in the meeting. More than the allocated £200 had been spent to date from the approved Chairman's Allowance on: flowers £90; presents to mark the retirement of three councillors £100; Remembrance wreath £16.50. RESOLVED: That a Chairman's Allowance of £200 should be allocated for the 2011/12 year with reimbursement of any overspend being subject to approval of the Committee.
F10/11.52

Responsible Financial Officer's delegated financial powers. RESOLVED: That the following powers should be delegated to the RFO:

  1. Purchase of petty cash items up to £20/month.
  2. 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.
F10/11.53

Application for grant aid from

  1. Battle Area Community Transport (accounts received). At the Chairman's request, the RFO had queried the figures for repayment of Trustees' expenses of £3,724. Unfortunately, councillors did not understand the reply sent from BACT. Despite the query, it was RECOMMENDED: That a grant of £150 should be made to the Battle Area Community Transport.
  2. Rural Rother Trust (accounts received). The Chairman of Rother District Council had written to seek persons living locally who could benefit from a grant from the Rural Rother Trust charity. Also to request donations from local councils. It was noted that there was £8,129.60 in the Fund at the end of 2009/10 and that only one grant of £350 had been made (to a Burwash resident) during that financial year. RECOMMENDED: That a grant of £50 should be made to the Rural Rother Trust. It was agreed that the existence of the Trust funds should be highlighted in the next edition of the Parish Council's Bulletin.
F10/11.54

2011/12 Second draft Budget and 2011/12 Precept recommendation to Council. Apart from a slight amendment to the staff costs for 2011/12, the second draft budget was as recommended at the previous meeting. In order to retain the precept at the 2010/11 rate, money held in balances will be used reducing the balances at the end of 2011/12 to approximately £2,500, which is lower than recommended. However, hopefully some savings on election costs may arise.

 

It was noted that statistics issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 11/11/10 state that the average Band D parish precepts are as follows:

  • For England £44.55
  • For the South East £48.91
  • Sedlescombe in 2010/11 £47.66

The lowest average at £24.43 is for the north west and the highest at £54.33 is for the north east.

 

RECOMMENDED: That the 2011/12 budget is adopted by the Council and a precept of £31,500 is set.

F10/11.55 Date of next meeting: 29/03/11.
 

 

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