To consider the initial draft 2023/2024 Budget and options available in order for the Council to set a balanced budget and if appropriate make recommendations to Cabinet on 7 February 2023 and full Council on 22 February 2023
The Committee had before it, and NOTED, the Budget update *report, previously presented to the Cabinet on 3rd January 2023.
In response to public questions asked the Corporate Manager for Finance stated:
· As explained at Cabinet on 3/1/2023 the borrowing timeframe is usually aligned with the working life of an asset funded from that borrowing. Within those working draft papers the funding requirements for 3RDL had been included with the 50 year borrowing as the underlying assets financed were property. As highlighted, it was not appropriate to fund short term development investment through long term borrowing. Therefore, in this case, the term would be amended to align with the development timeframe and not the life of the asset. So, hopefully Mr Quinn that gives you reassurance that we will address that in terms of the papers going forward to February Cabinet, where the budget will be approved. I would just add that, up to this point, we have not actually borrowed externally for 3 Rivers and the intention is not to, going forward, as long we have that capacity internally. So, hopefully, that answers that question.
The officer went on to explain that the budget gap was largely due to inflation of wages, fuel and energy costs and that progress was being made to close the gap through income generation rather than service cuts.
A new approach would be taken with Town and Parish Councils and there would be ongoing discussions with the S151 officer due to attend a number of Parish Council meetings in the future.
Consideration was given to:
· The budget was constantly reviewed and residents were consulted via residents surveys
· Annual settlements from Governments made it difficult to strategically plan budgets
· Provision had been made for impairment for 3RDL and had been agreed by the Council’s external auditors
· There were ongoing discussions about the costs of the Leisure Centres against the benefit to residents and there was a work in progress to reduce costs through green initiatives and an increase in fees and charges
· The impact of vacancy management on service delivery could be scrutinised by way of quarterly reports
It was therefore RESOLVED that:
· Officers provide a report on a system of vacancy control that was transparent and inclusive of Members and the Scrutiny Committee. To include the projected targets for vacancy control and how it might be implemented
(Proposed by Cllr Barnell and seconded by Cllr B G J Warren)
· Officers to provide a report on the future funding of the Leisure Centres including the possibility of an inclusive budgeting exercise involving the electorate on the future funding of the leisure centres
(Proposed by Cllr G Barnell and seconded by Cllr Mrs E J Lloyd)
Reason for the decisions: To provide a steer for Council on budget proposals
· *report previously circulated and attached to the minutes
· Cllr J Buczkowski made a personal declaration as Chairman of Cullompton Town Council
· Cllr Mrs S Griggs made a personal declaration as Mayor of Tiverton Town Council
· Cllr B G J Warren made a personal declaration as Chairman of Willand Parish Council
· Cllr Mrs E J Slade left the meeting at 4.43pm