Agenda item

To receive the report of the Strategic Manager (Resources)

Decision:

Recommendations to Full Council

 

a)     That the assurance of the Chief Finance Officer (s151 Officer) of the robustness of the budget 2020/21 as set out in section 12 of the report be noted.

 

b)     That the assumptions and forecast applied to develop the MTFS outlined in section 10 of the report be noted.

 

c)     That the forecast deficit of £0.293m in the MTFS for 2024/25 be noted.

 

d)     That the risks associated with the Budget 2020/21 and MTFS outlined in section 16 of the report be noted.

 

e)     That Torridge’s Band D Council Tax for 2020/21 be increased by £5 (3.06%) from £163.66 to £168.66 per year be approved.

 

f)      That Torridge’s Net Revenue Budget 2020/21 to be £9.737m be approved.

 

g)     That a contribution of £196,531 be made from the Transition in Government Funding Reserve to balance the 2020/21 budgets be approved.

 

h)     The contributions to the Council’s reserves as outlined in paragraph 11.4 of the report be approved.

 

i)       That the recommendations made at Internal Overview and Scrutiny Committee 17 December, in relation to New Home Bonus Community Grants and funding external organisations as set out in Appendix A attached to the report be as follows:

 

             I.                That there be no New Homes Bonus Community Grants scheme  to run from 2020-21 but to be revisited in 2021-22 when the Government funding is known and if there is additional funding to support the Scheme.

 

            II.                That the following organisations listed under external grants who are under Service Level Agreements with Torridge District Council will continue to receive funding at existing levels.  The organisations are to submit their accounts to TDC to justify the continuing grant:

 

·                     North Devon Biosphere Partnership

·                     North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

·                     TTVS

·                     Citizens Advice Bureau

·                     North Devon Plus

·                     North Devon Women’s Aid

 

           III.                That the recommendations for the following recipients be deferred until more information to be able to conduct a financial analysis is provided to TDC:

 

·                     Holsworthy Community Transport (£6,500)

·                     Affinity Bideford TIC (£1,000)

·                     Holsworthy TIC (£4,500)

·                     Great Torrington TIC (£4,220)

·                     Bideford New Year’s Eve (£3,000)

 

          IV.                That the following items be incorporated in the above resolution (lll) and be referred to the Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee as part of the overall process:

 

                                     i.        Increased capacity and skill building will be facilitated during the wind-down period. Proposed input will be required in terms of governance, funding bids, policies, web presence and skills audits.

 

                                    ii.        Role of the Community Engagement Officer to actively engage with and support community bodies across the district, as well as to map current provision and where gaps exist.

 

                                   iii.        Capacity building should be provided to existing grant recipients and other bodies who are operating at a community level who have not previously received grant funding

 

j)       That the Head of Paid Service, Senior Management and the new council address the strategic plan & priorities and prepare options to achieve the savings going forward.

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor K James declared a personal interest – Holsworthy Community Transport and Holsworthy TIC but attended with an open mind.

 

Councillor P Hackett declared a personal interest – Director of North Devon + (TDC appointed) but attended with an open mind.

 

 

The Strategic Manager (Resources) introduced the report, the purpose of which was to present to Members the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) indicating the possible extent of the budget and funding shortfall that the Council will face in the future.   It is an aid in identifying the extent of services changes that the Council will need to make to achieve a balanced budget in each financial year up to 2024/25.  Members were also asked to consider and recommend the Budget 2020/21 to Full Council.

 

The Strategic Manager (Resources) advised that although the Council is in a relatively good financial position, there is a need for savings to be found and decisions to be made in terms of bridging the gap in the budget.  Due to previous financial forethought, reserves had been generated allowing the Council time to bring its budgets back into balance over the course of the MTFS.

 

A slide presentation was given by the Finance Manager which highlighted the salient points in the report.  Members were informed of the following amendment to the “Provisional Settlement 2020/21” slide:

 

Bullet point 2 – Date to be amended to - Revenue Support Grant confirmed at 2020/21 ….

 

 Other key points highlighted included:

 

·         The impact of increasing and not increasing (as in previous years) the council tax

·         Business Rates

·         Budget pressures and savings

·         New Homes Bonus

·         Funding Horizon from 2021/22

·         Challenges for the Council in future years.

 

The Strategic Manager (Resources) and the Finance Manager provided reasons and rationale to support the recommendations as detailed in the report.

 

During the presentation questions were asked and clarification given on a number of issues/concerns raised.  Amendments to the recommendations were suggested as follows:

 

·         New Homes Bonus – Members raised concerns with regard to the recommendation from Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee to cease earmarking this funding for Community Grants.  The Strategic Manager (Resources) advised there is no monies available, and that if Members wished to keep the New Homes Bonus, funding would be needed to be found from elsewhere.  It was agreed that due to the uncertainty of the funding from Government, this matter to be revisited when further information is available.

 

·         Organisations who provide a Service Level Agreement for the Council – to submit accounts to TDC to justify the continuing Grant.

 

·         The recommendations for existing organisations, as set out in the report under i) III, be deferred until further information is provided.

 

           Councillor Pennington, Chair of External Overview & Scrutiny

           Committee, explained that organisations receiving Grants from the

           Council attend External Overview & Scrutiny meetings of  to give an

           update.  This matter to be reinstated onto the Forward Plan.

 

·         Item IV – the items detailed to be included in resolution III and referred back to Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

 

The recommendations were presented and voted upon individually as follows:

 

Recommendations to Full Council

 

It was proposed by Councillor Lock, seconded by Councillor Hackett  -

 

a)     That the assurance of the Chief Finance Officer (s151 Officer) of the robustness of the budget 2020/21 as set out in section 12 of the report be noted.

 

b)     That the assumptions and forecast applied to develop the MTFS outlined in section 10 of the report be noted.

 

c)     That the forecast deficit of £0.293m in the MTFS for 2024/25 be noted.

 

d)     That the risks associated with the Budget 2020/21 and MTFS outlined in section 16 of the report be noted.

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor James -

 

e)     That Torridge’s Band D Council Tax for 2020/21 be increased by £5 (3.06%) from £163.66 to £168.66 per year be approved.

 

(Vote:  For 10, Against 1)

 

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Clarke –

 

f)      That Torridge’s Net Revenue Budget 2020/21 to be £9.737m be approved.

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Clarke –

 

g)     That a contribution of £196,531 be made from the Transition in Government Funding Reserve to balance the 2020/21 budgets be approved.

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Clarke –

 

h)     The contributions to the Council’s reserves as outlined in paragraph 11.4 of the report be approved.

 

(Vote:  For – Unanimous)

 

 

i)       That the recommendations made at Internal Overview and Scrutiny Committee 17 December, in relation to New Home Bonus Community Grants and funding external organisations as set out in Appendix A attached to the report be as follows:

 

It was proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Dart –

 

That there be no New Homes Bonus grants scheme to run from 2020-21.

 

(Vote:  For 4, Against 5, Abstentions 2)

 

The motion was lost.

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hutchings, seconded by Councillor Clarke –

 

That the New Homes Bonus be reinstated and £100,000 be found from elsewhere.

 

(Vote:  For 2, Against 7, Abstentions 2)

 

The motion was lost.

 

 

It was proposed by Councillor Lock, seconded  by Councillor Christie -

 

             I.                That there be no New Homes Bonus Community Grants scheme  to run from 2020-21 but to be revisited in 2021-22 when the Government funding is known and if there is additional funding to support the Scheme.

 

(Vote:  For 10)  -  One Member did not vote

 

            II.                That the following organisations listed under external grants who are under Service Level Agreements with Torridge District Council will continue to receive funding at existing levels.  The organisations are to submit their accounts to TDC to justify the continuing grant:

 

·                     North Devon Biosphere Partnership

·                     North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

·                     TTVS

·                     Citizens Advice Bureau

·                     North Devon Plus

·                     North Devon Women’s Aid

 

           III.                That the recommendations for the following recipients be deferred until more information to be able to conduct a financial analysis is provided to TDC:

 

·                     Holsworthy Community Transport (£6,500)

·                     Affinity Bideford TIC (£1,000)

·                     Holsworthy TIC (£4,500)

·                     Great Torrington TIC (£4,220)

·                     Bideford New Year’s Eve (£3,000)

 

          IV.                 That the following items be incorporated in the above resolution (lll) and be referred to the Internal Overview & Scrutiny Committee as part of the overall process:

 

                                     i.        Increased capacity and skill building will be facilitated during the wind-down period. Proposed input will be required in terms of governance, funding bids, policies, web presence and skills audits.

 

                                    ii.        Role of the Community Engagement Officer to actively engage with and support community bodies across the district, as well as to map current provision and where gaps exist.

 

                                   iii.        Capacity building should be provided to existing grant recipients and other bodies who are operating at a community level who have not previously received grant funding

 

j)       That the Head of Paid Service, Senior Management and the new council address the strategic plan & priorities and prepare options to achieve the savings going forward.

 

Supporting documents: