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FINANCE MINUTES

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 6 SEPTEMBER IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL, 19:00-20:30

 

PRESENT: Cllr Glew (Chairman), Cllrs Chapman, Heap, Martin,

Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council), Councillor J Vine-Hall (Vice-Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

 

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F11/12.15 Apologies and reasons for absence. None, all present.
F11/12.16

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 Chapman declared his personal/prejudicial interests in F11/12.31 and 32 by virtue of him having submitted a quotation for the work.

F11/12.17 Public participation. No public present..
F11/12.18 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 28/06/11.
F11/12.19

2011/12 Budget Monitoring.

  1. 2011/12 Budget and income and expenditure to end August 2011. Members had been provided with details of the Council's income and expenditure report for the first five months (up to end August 2011) of the financial year set against the 2011/12 budget.
    1. Income and expenditure. It was noted that budget savings of about £2,800 have been identified. It was agreed that an appeal would be made, accompanied by a cheque for £50, to SLCC regarding the Clerk's failure of the Well-being Module. Her submission had covered all the salient features of the Power, precised into 200 words, from a statutory guidance note 26 pages long.

      The Committee discussed the Sports Association's request for the Parish Council to "take back" maintenance of the Sportsfield ditch. It was noted that, in 2008, six months before the pavilion was handed over to the Association, a joint SPC/SSA meeting had agreed that a budget of £7,000 net income would be required for the first year of operation with the new building and that 50% of the income would need to come from rents. If this had been implemented by the Sports Association, they would have sufficient funding to undertake the ditch's maintenance. See also agenda item F11/12.31.

      The Committee was informed about an outstanding gas bill for the pavilion which keeps being sent back to the Parish Council which is not responsible.
    2. Summary. The Committee had been provided with a summary in accordance with the Audit Form. It was noted that during September the Clerk/RFO had arranged for £21,000 to be transferred from the Community Account to a new Co-operative Bank Investment Account.

      RESOLVED: That the 2011/12 First Review Figures are accepted.

  2. Use of funds. The Committee considered the use of funds.
    1. It was RECOMMENDED: That the £111.69 being held in the Village of the Year prize money fund is put towards installation of planters on the Village Green.
    2. The Committee agreed to retain the £596.29 being held in the Sportsfield Fund for the time being.
    3. The £194.85 being held in the Red Barn Field fund will be used towards the well tops.
    4. The small amount remaining in the Pump project fund will be used towards concreting around the base of the pump.
F11/12.20 Neighbourhood Watch. The Chairman of the Rother Neighbourhood Watch had asked for a grant from the Parish Council. The Clerk/RFO had asked for a copy of the Rother NHW's accounts but they had not been received despite a chasing e-mail being sent.
F11/12.21

Audit of Accounts

  1. Internal audit of 2010/11 accounts. The audit of the accounts report by Mrs Alexander was noted by the Committee.
  2. Internal Financial Controls. RESOLVED: That the Internal Financial Controls adopted by the Parish Council are effective.
  3. Internal audit 2011/12 accounts. Mrs Alexander had agreed that an annual audit of Sedlescombe Parish Council's account is sufficient at present. RESOLVED: That Mrs Alexander is appointed to carry out the annual internal audit of the 2011/12 accounts at the cost of £125.
  4. External audit of accounts by Mazars. RESOLVED: That the satisfactory completion of the external audit of the 2010/11 account is noted.
F11/12.22

Savings accounts. It was noted that, following the decision made by the Council at C11/12.31.3, the situation with the Council's bank accounts is as follows:

  1. Current account - Barclays Bank Community Account
  2. Business Savings account - Barclays Bank closed
  3. West Bromwich Building Society Direct Corporate Deposit Gross
  4. Co-operative Bank Guaranteed 6-month Investment Account awaiting confirmation of opening
F11/12.23

Brede Lane Car Park

  1. Proposed agreement Brede Lane Car Park maintenance of grass areas and young trees. Awaiting agreement from Rother. Although nothing official had been received from Rother DC despite chasing through the District Councillor, the Rother Minutes show that Cabinet has approved continuation of devolvement to the Parish Council although without any link to the Consumer Price Index. RECOMMENDED: That the Parish Council approves the extension of the Rother District Council/Parish Council grounds maintenance agreement for the Brede Lane Car Park for a five year term and notes payment of £295.03 p.a. is to be made.
  2. Layout change (included for the sake of completeness). Rother is not willing to make any changes to the layout because of recent changes made to the lining following the Parish Council's last request. However, it is expected that this matter will be looked at again in the future by Rother.
  3. District Council review of car parks. The Committee noted that, in the longer term, Rother is likely to consider passing the responsibility for maintaining car parks (and toilets) to the parishes.
F11/12.24

Safety inspections of children's playgrounds.

  1. Sedlescombe Parish Council's current playground inspection regime. See Clerk's Report. RECOMMENDED: That the Council's Playground Inspection Arrangements of a weekly councillor inspection and an annual professional inspection is satisfactory considering the use made of the playground.
  2. 2012 Professional Playground Inspection. RECOMMENDED: That Digley Associates should be appointed to carry out the playground inspection for 2012. Members would have liked to find a way of working with other parishes in order to get a good deal for this work but, in the past, this had been difficult to arrange.
F11/12.25 Safety inspections of trees. At a recent Clerks' meeting, it had been suggested that parish councils should seriously consider carrying out regular tree inspections especially in areas where the public have access. RESOLVED: That tree surgery expert Councillor Martin should provide a report on his inspection of all trees in public areas for which the Parish Council is responsible.
F11/12.26 Water safety inspection. In the small print accompanying ROSPA's annual inspection report, water safety inspections are recommended as appropriate. It was acknowledged by the Committee that, as the Riverside Playground is situated close to the River Line, the soundness of the fencing is very important. It is expected that the fencing next to the playground will be replaced in the near future.
F11/12.27 Sportsfield footpath. Cllr Vine-Hall offered to add soil beneath the bottom bar of the kissing gate at the eastern end of the footpath through the Sportsfield.
F11/12.28 Playground equipment. The ropes on the Grand Canyon, Jacobs Ladder and Niagara Falls needs lifting despite this being done several times in the past. The Committee agreed that Record RSS (Company which has taken over from RSS who fitted the equipment in 2006) should be asked to inspect and suggest what should be done.
F11/12.29

Contracts for the 2012 season.

  1. Grounds maintenance contract ie mowing and hedge cutting. RESOLVED: That Roger's Gardening Services should be awarded the Grounds Maintenance Contract for 2012 under the same terms and for the same payment with the proviso that mowing should not be done on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
  2. Litter contract. RESOLVED: That Roger's Gardening Services should be awarded the Litter Contract for 2012 under the same terms and for the same payment.
  3. Weedkilling. RESOLVED: That a quotation should be obtained from Languard for weedkilling under the same terms for 2012.
  4. Dog bin emptying. Undertaken on behalf of the Parish Council by Rother District Council. Costing not yet available.
  5. Insurances. RESOLVED: That a quotation should be obtained from Came & Company for renewal of the Council's insurances in 2012.
F11/12.30 Local Action Plan funding. It was acknowledged that if the Council decides to go ahead with production of a revised Local Action Plan, funding of about £2,000 may need to be included in the 2012/13 budget. The Local Strategic Partnership Board is hopeful that Rother Association of Local Councils will be able to persuade Rother District Council to provide match funding for Local Action Plans through the Rother Community Grants Scheme.
F11/12.31

Sportsfield ditch.

Cllr Chapman declared his personal/prejudicial interest by virtue of him having submitted a quotation for clearing the ditch. The Chairman allowed him to speak to the Committee and he suggested that the impending road alterations at the bottom of Chapel Hill could improve the situation regarding the amount of water entering Ladybird Lane and the ditch and that it might be a good idea to delay the ditch clearance until the road adjustments are complete. Cllr Chapman then left the meeting.

 

The Clerk reported that she had been speaking to James Hore, County Council Engineer in charge of the forthcoming road alterations, asking for the camber to be altered to take water away from the Ladybird Lane entrance.

 

During the summer, following the Sports Association's request at the July Council Meeting that the Parish Council "takes back" responsibility for maintaining the ditch, councillors and the Clerk have been considering options. The Council had delegated consideration to the Finance Committee.

 

The ditch, although continuous, is the responsibility of three different bodies ie

  1. From the rear garden of West Lodge as far as the gate into the Sportsfield Car Park - Sports Association by virtue of the Lease.
  2. Sportsfield Car Park - Parish Council by virtue of the Council retaining the Car Park and not passing on responsibility to the Sports Association.
  3. From the south east corner of the Sportsfield to the river - Pestalozzi International Village. Cllr Vine-Hall informed the Committee that he and the Clerk had met with Marc Golby, Pestalozzi Estate Manager, that morning and had been told that the Sports Association Trustees (or maybe the Football Club) were about to sign an agreement with Pestalozzi to rent two fields and that responsibility for maintaining ditches on three sides of one of these fields would be transferred to the lessees.

The Clerk/RFO reported receipt of two recent quotations and another older one received through the Sports Association for ditch work at the Sportsfield. The Chairman reminded the Committee of the Council's financial regulations whereby quotations should be sent to the Clerk in sealed envelopes in response to invitations to quote in accordance with specifications previously drawn up. The financial regulations also state that, where a parish councillor quotes for work, the lowest quotation received should be accepted.

 

RESOLVED: That, subject to approval of works to the part of the ditch from the south east corner of the field to the river, the Council agrees to clear the ditch from the rear garden of West Lodge as far as the gate into the Sportsfield Car Park this year but that the Association will then be expected to retain responsibility for its ongoing clearance as detailed in the Parish Council/Sports Association Lease.

 

RESOLVED: That the Clerk will contact Fred Ham, Chairman of the Sedlescombe Football Club or Pestalozzi regarding the ditch from the south east corner of the Sportsfield to the river to seek approval for clearance of this part of the ditch and a contribution towards its cost. (NB this will also entail removal of the fence between the Sportsfield and the ditch and its replacement.)

 

RESOLVED: That the Clerk will contact Pestalozzi to seek a contribution towards the cost of ditch maintenance because of Pestalozzi's plans to cut channels across the verge from the resurfaced Ladybird Lane to take water from the road swiftly into the ditch.

 

RESOLVED: That the Council provisionally accepts a quotation from Mayell Groundworks Ltd for £1100 plus VAT to clear the whole ditch as soon as possible from the rear garden of West Lodge to the River subject to obtaining approval from the Sports Association or the Football Club or Pestalozzi for the part from the south east corner of the field to the river.

 

The work will be largely funded from the Council's budget for Sportsfield/Car Park including Ladybird Lane.

F11/12.32

Bus Shelter. Cllr Chapman declared his personal/prejudicial interest by virtue of him having submitted a quotation for repairing the bus shelter. He left the meeting.

 

The third attempt to obtain quotations for bus shelter repairs had resulted in receipt of two quotations in accordance with the same specification.

 

RESOLVED: That, in accordance with the Parish Council's financial regulations, BEM Builders & Decorators Ltd's quotation of £1580 plus VAT is accepted for repairs to the bus shelter.

 

Budget savings will fund the cost of the repairs to the bus shelter.

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