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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held in the Town Hall on Thursday 4 January 2024 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)

South Ward:

Councillor S Inch
Councillor Ms R Clarke
Councillor P J Lawrence

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs J Gubb
Councillor J McKenzie (Town Mayor)
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer

West Ward:

Councillor C Hawkins

IN ATTENDANCE: Mr P Swan (Town Clerk)

66. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor P S Christie (North Ward, sickness)

67. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND ANY REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

None.

68. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

No members of the public were present at the meeting.

69. MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Simon Inch and seconded the minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2023 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0, Abstention: 2)

70. CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

None.

71. ACCOUNTS

a) Members received the list of payments.

Councillor McKenzie challenged the amount paid to TDC for the hire of the car parks, the Town Clerk explained that this charge was for the fulfilment of all the spaces for the full allocation of a days parking. This had been challenged with TDC as being unequitable given the car parks did not normally achieve full occupancy, they would not change their stance on the charge.

Councillor Bushby will challenge this with the Head of Communities and Place at TDC and report back to the Committee.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer requested that despite the fact in previous years the Council had been unable to receive a smaller quotation for the management of the Christmas Decorations tenders should be at least invited on the council website which the Town Clerk agreed to action.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby and seconded and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

72. NORTH DEVON RECORDS OFFICE

Members received the request for funding for the North Devon Records Office.

Proposed by Councillor Lawrence, seconded by Councillor Clarke and

RESOLVED: That the request for funding the North Devon Records Office is approved subject to likewise support from all Town/Parish councils.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 1)

73. CHRISTMAS DECORATIVE LIGHTS

Members considered the quotations for the bracket pull testing, repair, installation and dismantling, and provision of new Christmas Lights provided by DS Electrical.

Councillor Lawrence stated that in his view the Christmas decorations were too expensive and should not go ahead.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor L Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That the quotation is recommended to Town Council for resolution.

(Vote: For: 5, Against: 2; Abstention: 1)

74. NORTH DEVON FOODBANK (NDFB) EMERGENCY GRANT

Members received the request for funding for the North Devon Foodbank.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer reiterated the point that NDFB held several hundred thousand pounds in cash reserves in their annual accounts. It was agreed that although we provisionally voted to support this scheme that the question should be asked of NDFB.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Ms Clarke and

RESOLVED: That the request for funding North Devon Foodbank is approved for payment.

(Vote – For: 7 , Against: 1)

75. MAINTENANCE OPERATIVES

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

76. BUDGET 2024/2025

The Town Clerk presented the draft Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2023/2024. Explaining that this year’s budget contained some significant absorption of increase in the cost base in wages and utility costs, as well as significant one off expenses for a replacement commercial vehicle and large maintenance equipment items.

Councillor Lawerence expressed concern on the increase of 9.5%.

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

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RECOMMENDED: That the Council approves the budget of £ 655,748.77 which is an increase of 9.5 % (or 20p per week) on a band D, in respect of the Financial Year commencing 1 April 2024. The Council’s reserves will be increased to £300,000.00.

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

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 19:24pm.

 

Table showing the Draft Budget for the Financial Year 2024 2025

table of accounts presented at SFGP Meeting on 4 January 2024 for approval

 

 


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