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FINANCE MINUTES

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 13 DECEMBER 2011 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL, 19:00 TO 20:45

 

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

1 member of the public for the whole of the meeting and 1 for agenda item F11/12.51

 

Line
F11/12.44 Apologies and reasons for absence. None.
F11/12.45 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 interest was declared: 48.1 - Cllr Wright declared her personal interest in the heading "Allowances" because, as Chairman of the Council, she has received a Chairman's Allowance in the past.
F11/12.46 Public participation session. When Mr D Brabants joined the meeting during discussion of agenda item 49, he asked if he could speak to the Committee regarding agenda item 51. The Chairman agreed and the item was brought forward and taken in the middle of agenda item 49. The minute has, however, been reproduced in its original position.
F11/12.47 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 18/10/11.
F11/12.48

Administration costs.

  1. Allowances. Cllr Wright declared her personal interest because, as Chairman she has received an allowance in the past. She remained in the room. RESOLVED: That £250 is allocated for the Chairman's Allowance in 2012/13.
  2. Clerk's Salary. RESOLVED: That the Clerk's Salary is held at £13,768.65 in 2011/12 and 2012/13 unless recommendations to amend clerks' salaries is announced by SALC/SLCC. This is based on Salary Scale level 30 and 20 hours/week employment.
  3. Clerk's Employment costs 2012/13. RESOLVED: That a budget figure of £15,000 is included in the 2012/13 budget to cover the cost of employing the Clerk.
  4. Insurance. RESOLVED: That a budget figure of £1,080 is included in the 2012/13 budget based on an indicative premium figure from Came & Company for a 3-year Long-term Agreement with a 5% No Claims Bonus.
  5. Maintenance of offices. RESOLVED: That the Clerk is paid £200 in 2012/13 for maintaining the Council's office in her home, known as "Maintenance of offices".
  6. Subscriptions to other bodies. RESOLVED: That £750 is allocated in 2012/13 for the payment of subscriptions.
  7. Election Expenses. RESOLVED: That nil is allocated for election expenses for the 2012/13 financial year.
  8. Website, computer, software. It was noted that the Council's scanner has failed and has been disposed of. The Clerk is now using her own scanner.
F11/12.49

Jobs Update. Members considered the current Jobs Update. The following decisions were made:

  1. Weedkilling. RESOLVED: That Languard Ltd's quotation is approved for:-
    1. Three applications of herbicide to the tennis court edges, Brede Lane car park and access path, Pumphouse, Red Barn Field Nature Park path and the Sportsfield Car Park for £935.
    2. Monitoring and treatment as required of giant hogweed on the River Brede banks in the parish for £350.
    3. Moss treatment of both tennis courts in March 2012 for £45.
  2. Directory. RESOLVED: That printing of 800 copies of a 36-page booklet for £508 is approved.
  3. Pavilion inspection. RESOLVED: That Cllrs Chapman and Heap will contact Derek Wright (Secretary of the Sports Association) with a view to carrying out an inspection of the pavilion on 17/12/11.
  4. Sportsfield Ditch. RESOLVED: That Cllr Martin (Council's representative on the Sports Association Committee) should ensure that the Sports Association budgets for work to the ditch in the forthcoming years and that Pestalozzi International Village will be reminded that they should also budget for clearance of their part of the same ditch in future years.
  5. Ladybird Lane. Parking on Ladybird Lane by Sportsfield users remains a problem and the Chief Executive had sent a complaint to the Council regarding parking on the tarmac and in the laybys on 04/12/11 which blocked the access road. The Committee acknowledged that Sportsfield users' parking is inconvenient for residents and their visitors and presents a safety risk in that emergency vehicles cannot access the site. Mrs Walton had stated that, if the problems persists, Pestalozzi will have no alternative but to employ a private company to enforce parking restrictions.

    The Committee discussed how this problem could be resolved but came to the conclusion that the Sportsfield is being over-used for the number of parking spaces that are available. Many of the people parking do not know the Village and will be unaware that there is a alternative car park in Brede Lane. They ignore the laminated notices which have no legal backing and, as the road is a private one, the Police can take no action. The Clerk/RFO was instructed to write to the Sports Association again insisting that they ensure that someone is on duty in the road to stop cars parking there. If there is no improvement, and to ensure the safety of everyone in Oaklands and Pestalozzi, the Parish Council will have to consider closing the Sportsfield because of the Sports Association's breach of the terms of the Lease of the field.
  6. Tennis courts. A survey of all residents in the parish of Sedlescombe had recently been undertaken by the Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust. As things stand at present, it will be up to the Trust to make the decision regarding what is done to the courts. However, members were asked to consider this in relation to the amount of money that the Council will need to set aside in the 2012/13 budget.
    The Clerk/RFO had recently obtained a draft Memorandum of Agreement which, if approved by the Trust and Council, will allow the Parish Council to take over complete maintenance of the courts and to reclaim the VAT. The Clerk/RFO reported waiting for a reply from HMRC concerning partial exemption of VAT.
  7. Planters on Village Green. Three planters complete with plants had recently been delivered to The Green by Blackbrooks Garden Centre at their expense. It was agreed that Cllrs Martin and Vine-Hall will flatten out the ruts on the edges of the Green where vehicles have run over them and then, after Christmas, Blackbrooks will move the planters and provide a further three for the other side. The Council had provided six plaques acknowledging Blackbrooks' sponsorship of the planters. Cllr Wright reported she had put an acknowledgement of Blackbrooks generosity in this week's Sedlescombe News.
  8. "No parking" and "Clean it up" signs to be placed on at litter bin on The Green. The Clerk/RFO will obtain.
  9. Well tops, Red Barn Field. Anthony Rand still plans to replace the tops.
  10. Brede Lane Car Park. The Clerk/RFO will remind Rother DC that it was going to plant a replacement tree in front of the public conveniences in Brede Lane.
  11. "Welcome to Sedlescombe" board in commemoration of next year's Jubilee. A quote of £260 had been received which the Committee wished to accept. The Clerk/RFO had applied for a 50% grant from Battle Partnership and the result was awaited.
  12. Garage at sportsfield. It was noted that the roof of the garage had been removed by the Sports Association and disposed of with other asbestos being got rid of at Pestalozzi.
F11/12.50

Funding MUGA

  1. Public Works Loan Board. Available for capital projects. The Clerk/RFO reminded the Committee that Borrowing Approval would be required. The current interest rate on fixed rate PWLB loans is very advantageous.
  2. Examples of possible grant aid
    1. Awards for All. This grant is not suitable for "projects where the main purpose is to increase participation in sports, arts or heritage" or "routine repairs and maintenance.
    2. Protecting Playing Fields. Grants of between £20,000 to £50,000 are available with matched funding needing to be provided.
    3. Rother Community Grant Scheme. Grant scheme intended to pump prime new projects. Substantial local support will have to be shown, that the project is sustainable and that the Parish Council has also contributed funding. Especially welcomed are applications that support the broad objectives of Rother's Corporate Plan. The deadline for submission of applications is 31 January and 31 July each year with Cabinet agreeing grants in March and September respectively. Rother has two types of grant scheme:
      1. Small grants - Small one-off grants of up to £5,000 each. The maximum grant will be limited to 50% of the total costs.
      2. Large grants - The maximum grant for any project is £30,000 with Rother DC funding a maximum of 50% of the scheme.
F11/12.51

Superfast Broadband. A local resident, Mr Dave Brabants, said that he had attended this meeting to express his interest in helping get Superfast Broadband into Sedlescombe. He is willing to find others living locally who are interested too.

It was reported to the Committee that Colin Raymond had attended the Superfast Broadband Conference in Uckfield recently and was committed to helping encourage others to support the County Council scheme to bring Superfast Broadband to the rural areas. There are two schemes. A national one supported by DEFRA to bring Broadband to hard to reach areas such as the Ashdown Forest and another scheme into which the County Council is willing to put its own funds to improve access to higher Broadband speeds in other rural areas. It was noted that, apart from paying for printing and hall hire, the Parish Council will not be expected to contribute funds.

RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council will support East Sussex County Council's Superfast Broadband Project and will aim to bring Superfast Broadband to Sedlescombe as soon as possible.

 

It was agreed that a public meeting will be held on Tuesday 10 January 2012 prior to the Parish Council Meeting to launch Sedlescombe's project and to identify some interested people.

 

That an initial closing date for completion of some questionnaires of end January 2012 is set.

F11/12.52 Celebration of Diamond Jubilee next year. Sedlescombe Green WI is proposing to arrange a picnic on the Sportsfield on 04/06/12. Sylvia Beaney, President of Sedlescombe Green WI, had written to the Parish Council asking for a grant of £250 towards hire of a band for a Barn Dance and Insurance of the event. This could be used towards match funding needed for an application to the Rother District Council Jubilee Grant Fund. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council agrees in principle to supporting the Jubilee Picnic on 04/06/12 up to a maximum of £200. The WI has yet to obtain costings.

A letter had been received this week from Rother DC asking whether the Parish Council will be lighting a beacon in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. A guidance leaflet had been provided. No action.
F11/12.53

2011/12 Budget Monitoring

  1. RESOLVED: That the income and expenditure to the end of November 2011 against the 2011/12 budget is noted.
  2. RESOLVED: That the statement of funds at the end of November 2011 against the 2011/12 budget is noted.
F11/12.54

Second draft of 2012/13 Budget. The Clerk/RFO had produced several different budgets with varying amounts of precept to show the effect of doing nothing to the courts, just repairing the courts' surface and of creating a MUGA with new surface and fencing. The precept varied from the same amount as for the last three years (£31,500) to a precept with a 15% increase (£36,225).

 

Members considered the budget again and decided to remove the £2,000 allocated for the Parish Plan.

 

Cllr Vine-Hall stressed the importance of trying to bring the amount in general funds to about a third of the precept in order to ensure reserve funds to save towards larger projects such as proposed at the tennis courts.

 

The RFO was asked to look again at the 2012/13 budget figures, to check the amount that is likely to be carried forward from 2011/12 and to re-calculate the figures to include funds for just doing the surface of the courts without any grant aid and to bring the general funds up to a third of the precept.

 

RECOMMENDED: That the Council should increase the precept in order to cover expenses and to build up reserves.

 

The precept amount is expected to be decided at the Council Meeting on 10/01/12.

 

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