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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held via Zoom on Thursday 07 January 2021 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)
Councillor P Christie
Councillor D McGeough

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb (Vice-Chairman)
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Councillor J McKenzie

West Ward:

Councillor D Ratcliff

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor J Craigie

188.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor Wootton (South Ward – Personal).

189.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION

There were no declarations of interest.

190.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

There were no members of the public present at the meeting.

191. MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb, the minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

192.     CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

The Town Clerk advised that the office had been in touch with TTVS and they will be resuming the prescription/food delivery service for those shielding during the lockdown. The Office staff will pass on any requests they receive to TTVS and the Maintenance Team will assist with deliveries where required.

193.     ACCOUNTS

a.     Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Ratcliff and

RESOLVED: That the list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

b.     Members received and approved the Council’s interim Independent Auditor’s Report for the period 1 April – 30 September 2020.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the Council’s Interim Independent Auditor’s Report for the period 1 April – 30 September 2020.is noted.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

194.     BIDEFORD CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Members considered the quotations for the bracket pull testing, repair, installation and dismantling, and provision of new Christmas Lights provided by DS Electrical. The committee discussed whether alternative quotations were required and agreed it would be in order to waive the financial regulations given the extremely specialist nature of the tasks required. This exercise in past years yielded only one quotation, which exceeded the current quotation.

Members asked the Clerk to thank DS Electrical for this year’s fantastic Christmas Light display and the additional lights at the East-the-Water side of the bridge.

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and

RECOMMENDED: That DS Electrical continues to install, pull test, repair, maintain and dismantle and provide new Christmas lights under the current arrangement and in accordance with their quotation.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

195.     FORD WOODS

a.     Members considered fixed price quotations for the arboricultural work identified.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGough and

RESOLVED: That Hoopers Tree Surgeons are selected to undertake the work required in Ford Woods.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

b.     Members considered the quotation for the re-inspection of Ash dieback in Summer 2021.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGough and

RESOLVED: That Coastal Tree Surgeons are selected to re-inspect the Ash dieback in Summer 2021.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

196.     POLLYFIELD PATH

Members considered the email from Advanced Pallets regarding the terms requested for making a path along their land and discussed facilitating the legal agreements required.

The Town Clerk advised that she had been in contact with Zurich, The Town Council’s insurance Company with regards to the Town Councill taking full liability for those accessing and traversing the path as requested by Advanced Pallets. Zurich have confirmed that as long as risk assessments and a maintenance log are in place, then the Town Council would still be covered for Public liability insurance for any accidents taking place on the path.

Members discussed the legal agreement required for the retention of the land by Advanced Pallets. The Town Clerk was asked to engage a solicitor to draw up the agreement. The choice of solicitor will be made in conjunction with the Committee Chair, providing the fee is less than £1,000. If the cost is to be greater than this, the item will be returned to the SFGP Committee for further consideration.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RESOLVED: That the legal agreement for the retention of the land by Advanced Pallets is drawn under the terms stated above.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

197.     ADOPTION OF BENCHES ALONG BIDEFORD QUAY

The Town Clerk advised that she had been in contact with Zurich, The Town Council’s insurance Company with regards to the benches the Town Council would like to adopt from Devon County Council along the Quay. She suggested that it is not worth The Town Council insuring them for loss or damage as they are unlikely to be vandalised/destroyed all at once, so it would probably be more cost effective for the Town Council just to pay for any damages themselves, as they occur. She had checked whether The Town Council would still be covered for Public liability insurance, if someone injured themselves in some way, on one of the adopted benches. Zurich have confirmed that as long as risk assessments and a maintenance log are in place, then the benches would still be covered for Public liability insurance.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor R Craigie and

RESOLVED: That the benches along Bideford Quay, which are to be adopted from Devon County Council are included under the Town Council’s public liability insurance, but not specifically insured against damages. The Town Council will rectify any damage that occurs on an individual basis.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

198.     MANOR COURT 2021

Members considered cancelling the Manor Court ceremony which would normally take place on the third Saturday in March, in view of the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Christie and

RESOLVED: That Manor Court 2021 is cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

199.     SHARED PROJECT OFFICER POSITION

Members considered the re-commencement of the recruitment process for the shared Project Development Officer position, and who should make up the recruitment team.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the recruitment process for the shared Project Development Office position is recommenced.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That That the recruitment panel consists of Councillors Bushby, Mrs Gubb, McKenzie and the Town Clerk.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

200.     MAINTENANCE OPERATIVES

Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives and noted the report.

Councillor Christie advised that he was very impressed by the work that the team had completed at the Port Memorial, and Councillor Bushby said that some areas will be repointed in the spring.
Councillor Christie asked if the pigeon droppings in Buttgarden street near St Mary’s flats could be jet washed. He also mentioned the overgrown foliage which needs cutting back on Pitt Hill. He felt that this was coming from Stella Maris and that the Housing Association should be asked to do this. Councillor Mrs Hellyer also said that it could be logged on the DCC website for action, and they would ask the owner to cut back the foliage.

201.     BUDGET 2021/2022

The Town Clerk presented the draft Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2021/2022.

Following discussion, a final draft budget was agreed which is attached and forms part of these Minutes.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RECOMMENDED: That the Council approves the budget of £ 518,223.00 which is an increase of 1.95 % (or 4 p per week) on a band D, in respect of the Financial Year commencing 1 April 2021. The Council’s reserves will remain at £130,000.00.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0, Abstentions: 1)

202.     PART II CLOSED SESSION

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, the meeting moves into part II.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

203.     STAFFING

There is a confidential minute associated with this item.

204.     Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote For:8, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.00 pm.

 

Draft Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2021_2022

 

Accounts for approval  at SFGP Meeting 070121

 

 

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