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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held via Zoom on Thursday 18 February 2021 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)
Councillor P S 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)
Mrs L Dixon-Chatfield (Town Clerk’ Assistant)
Councillor Mrs S Langford

 

221.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor Mrs L Hellyer had advised that she would be joining the meeting a little after 6.30 pm due to a County Council Commitment.

222.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor Christie declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 7. (Rotary Club Honorary President for a year.)

Councillor Mrs Gubb declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 7. (She is a committee member of the Bideford Massed Pipes and Drums, Carnival Committee, and Port of Bideford Regatta Committee.)

Councillor McGeough declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 7. (He has provided business sponsorship for a number of the organisations who have applied for a grant.)

223.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION

No Members of the public were present at the meeting.

224.     MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Christie and seconded by Councillor Bushby, the minutes of the meeting held on 11 February 2021 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

225.    CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

The Town Clerk advised that Bideford 500 have requested that further to the agreement by the Town Council to adopt the Ropemaker, consideration is given to adopting a further 3 figurines. This confirmation will help with grant applications. Members agreed, and this will be placed on the March agenda, for a formal resolution.

The Town Clerk advised that the work to the Quay trees will start on the 1st March and take 3 days.

The Chairman appraised Members of the meeting he and the Town Clerk had attended with Torridge Officers to discuss the housing of the Maintenance Team and their equipment. Torridge District Council would like to move their own contractor into the facility and therefore The Town Council team will need to move out. TDC are working with The Town Clerk and Councillor Bushby to find alternative premises. Councillor McGeough and Councillor Christie advised that they would like to attend the site visit of the new proposed location, scheduled for Monday, as this is in their ward. Members noted that they would very much like the Town Council to be permitted to continue operating from their current location and will advise the District Council accordingly.

226.    ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McGeough and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

227.    GRANTS TO LOCAL ORGANISATIONS 2021/22

The Chairman advised that he take the application from Out of this World for the New Year’s Eve event first, as the request for a grant of £27,000 was a large part of the overall budget.

Members discussed the cost of the New Year’s Eve event, and whether the Town Council could afford to spend such a large amount of money on this event. The Organiser had made it clear that unless the full amount requested was awarded, then there would not be sufficient funding to put on the event. Members proposed that as this is not a Town Council event, but simply an event that the Town Council has sponsored in the past, it was now time to cease this sponsorship. The Town Council does organise events themselves within the town, and does indeed sponsor other events, but at a much lesser cost. Members then discussed the sponsorship of the other large event in the town – The Christmas Light Switch-on and decided that The Town Council should continue to sponsor this event. The Christmas Lights are a huge draw to visitors and provide a focal point at Christmas within the town. The Switch On event is very much a family and community event which lasts a whole day. The Town Council own the Christmas Lights and as such, the event is theirs to sponsor.

Members then muted whether just to sponsor fireworks on New Year’s Eve but felt that as Bideford Town Council had undertaken to become carbon neutral, it would not be appropriate. In addition, if a firework display is organised, all the appropriate Health & Safety measures will need to be organised, leading to a much greater expenditure than just the cost of the fireworks.

(Councillor Mrs Hellyer joined the meeting and the Chair appraised her of the discussion thus far.)

Proposed by Councillor McGeough, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RECOMMENDED: That the Town Council do not provide a grant to Out of this World for New Year’s Eve.

(Vote – For: 8, Against: 0)

The Councillors then considered each application received and made recommendations to Full Council for the award of grants from 1 April 2021, as detailed in the table below.

 

SFGP Grant 180221 Pic.1

SFGP Grants 180221 Pic.2

It was agreed that the grant application cheques will be posted to the recipients, with the exception of funds allocated for Town events. These cheques will be posted when it has been confirmed that the event is able to go ahead and has not been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Chair and Town Clerk will authorise the release of the cheques for events as appropriate. The organisers of the Town events will be reminded that their events must be Covid-19 secure and that they must have the appropriate risk assessments in place.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RECOMMENDED: That the grant allocation of £78,965.00 as detailed in the above table with a £3,000 contingency totalling £81,965.00 is agreed by Full Council.

(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 7.26 pm.

 

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