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Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Meeting 13 June 2013


 
PRESENT:

North Ward:   

Councillor Mrs E A Brenton
Councillor Mrs M Fulford

South Ward:   

Councillor D G Brenton (Substitute for DC Fulford)
Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch (Town Mayor)
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:   

Councillor SEL Clarke OBE
Councillor M Langmead
Councillor R Vanstone

IN ATTENDANCE:    Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Councillor P S Christie

001 ELECTION OF A CHAIRMAN

Councillor P J Pester was proposed by Councillor  S G Inch and seconded.

(Vote – For:  9, Against: 0 )

RESOLVED: That Councillor P J Pester be appointed as Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.

002 ELECTION OF A VICE CHAIRMAN

Councillor S E L Clarke was proposed by Councillor Langmead and seconded.

RESOLVED: That Councillor S E L Clarke be appointed as Vice Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.

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

003 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor D C Fulford (North Ward – another meeting).

004 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor S G Inch declared a pecuniary interest in agenda item 9. (Receives Mayor’s allowance).

Councillor SEL Clarke declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 11. (May be involved in the New Year’s Eve organisation).

005 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

No Members of the Public were present at the meeting.

006 MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 May 2013 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For:  8,  Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

007 CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

The Town Clerk advised that an updated version of the Charles Arnold Baker Clerk’s manual had been published and she would like to purchase a copy for the Council.  Members agreed that this would be sensible, although she was advised to also consider purchasing the legal advice provided by Croners as a possible alternative.

008 ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Clarke, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments be approved

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

(Having previously declared a pecuniary interest, Councillor S G Inch left the room.)

009 MAYORAL EXPENSES

Members discussed how the meal/travelling expenses for the Deputy Mayor and Beadle should be covered when on official Council business.

Proposed by Councillor Clarke, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That receipted meal and travelling expenses be paid directly by the Town Clerk’s office for the Beadle and Deputy Mayor and that these expenses are taken from the subsistence allowance budget.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0, Out of room: 1)

010 NON-EARMARKED FUNDS

The Town Clerk advised that the Council currently had funds of £63,000 in the General Fund which was not ear-marked.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the non-ear-marked funds totalling £63,000 be allocated to a Major Town Project budget.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

011 RESPONSE FROM THE BIDEFORD FESTIVAL COMMITTEE

(Having previously declared a non-pecuniary interest, Councillor S Clarke left the room.)

Members received the documentation provided by the Bideford Festival Committee regarding competitive tendering for New Year’s Eve.  Some Members expressed the view that the Town Clerk should have obtained the quotes, rather than the Festival Committee, and that too much money was currently spent on New Year’s Eve.  There was general accord that the Town Council could continue to provide funding for the fireworks in future years, but that fundraising should take place for the money required for the rest of the entertainment. It was requested that the Town Clerk obtains some quotes for a 15 minute firework display before the Grants meeting in October. There were suggestions as to which other organisations could possibly organise New Year’s Eve, and the general feeling that the town could benefit from a group who would be willing to organise events generally.  It was felt that as time was now pressing, and the Town Clerk had reported that the Emergency Services needed to know with whom they should liaise for this year’s event, a decision should be made very soon.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the grant money requested by the Bideford Festival Committee is released and the licence transferred to the New Year’s Eve organising body for them to organise the event in its totality.  However, from 2014/15 the grant funding should be restricted to fireworks only.  A breakdown of audited income and expenditure should be provided to the Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee following the event this year.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0, Abstention: 1, Out of room: 1)

012 THOMAS ILLMAN CHARITY FOR THE POOR

Members received information about the intended recipients of the above fund.

The work of the Andrew Dole charity was raised, but if was felt that the Rector of Bideford should be consulted in accordance with the wishes of the will.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a meeting is convened between the Mayor, the Rector of Bideford, Councillor Pester, and the Town clerk to agree upon the allocation of the funds.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

013 PROJECT UPDATE

Victoria Park

Members received a verbal report from Councillor Pester and it was agreed that the stabilisation work be deferred to next year and that the War Memorial be progressed this year.  The War Memorial is currently being costed and it is hoped these costings will be available to present to Full Council.  It was suggested that the War Memorial be placed on a circular tarmacked area.

Members considered the letter received from the Town Band regarding the possibility of a bandstand and the Town Clerk was asked to reply that Bideford Town Council will consider this request once the War Memorial Project has been completed.

There was discussion around the format of the War Memorial and Members agreed that the Town Clerk should organise a consultation for the three proposed war memorials via the web site.  She will also provide the information to the local press.  Councillor Pester will provide the Town Clerk with an obelisk style War Memorial as the third option.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the ground stabilisation be deferred and a consultation be held on which War Memorial the public prefer.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

Cooper Street Archway

Members considered the information regarding the Cooper Street Archway design, CCTV issues, and costs provided by Councillor Clarke.

Proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That Councillor Clarke continues to progress this project and that the maximum sum to be contributed by Bideford Town Council is £12,000.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

Lighting adjacent to West Croft Path

The Town Clerk provided an installed price cost for the lighting and detailed the correspondence which had taken place with Devon County Council regarding the surveyor’s costs.

Proposed by Councillor Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the installed price quotation from Forgen Lighting, (for 9 lights) is accepted, and the Devon County Council Surveyor’s costs are agreed.  The Town Clerk should now progress the Planning Permission application.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0, Abstention: 2)

014 TOWN FLAG

The Town Clerk advised that the Town flag has been damaged whilst flying from the Town Hall.  Members considered the designs which had previously been drawn up, and are in accordance with the Royal College of Arms. There will be a small charge for the graphic designer to complete the drawing. 

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the flag design is purchased and that the Town Clerk obtains quotes for a new flag in the updated design.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

015 PROJECT INITIATION FORM

Members considered the current form

Proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Project Initiation form is reviewed by the Documents Working Group.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

016 DIGITAL RECORDINGS OF MEETINGS

Information on digitally recording meetings had been provided by Councillor Powell and circulated with the agenda prior to the meeting.  Some Members felt that the documents circulated were more relevant to County and District Councils and did not provide evidence that Bideford Town Council should do something similar.  Some Members felt that the current system of minute taking at meetings provided an adequate record and that recording meetings and making them available to the public, would provide more work for staff.  Councillor Mrs Brenton felt it would be prudent to investigate via DALC whether any similar sized Councils to Bideford recorded their meetings.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That Councillor Mrs Brenton raises this issue with DALC and finds out if similar sized councils have experience of recording meetings. The situation will be reviewed in a year’s time on the basis of this information.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 1)

017 MANOR COURT

Proposed by Councillor  A T Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That this item is deferred to the next meeting.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

018 MATCHED FUNDING

Members considered the following Notice of Motion by Councillor Clarke.

“That the Town Council maximises rate payers money by using it as either matched funding or pump priming money to draw down further funding for projects from other sources.  E.g. Cooper Street, Victoria Park”
Additional staff hours will be required to source additional funding.

Members discussed the specialist knowledge required for this role and whether it should be investigated in conjunction with an events co-ordinator.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Councillor Mrs Brenton investigates further what would be involved for the role of a funding co-ordinator and reports her findings.

(Councillor Clarke left the meeting)

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

019 BIDEFORD WATER FESTIVAL
Members considered the following Notice of Motion by Councillor Pester.

“That Bideford Town Council supports the Bideford Water Festival which is being organised by the Rotary Club of Bideford to be held on Sunday 1st September via a grant of £1,000, to assist with the expense of items such as programmes, the hire of railings and ducks for the duck race”

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a grant of £1,000 is given to the Rotary Club of Bideford towards the Bideford Water Festival.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

020 DEVONSHIRE PARK ACTION GROUP
Members considered the following Notice of Motion by Councillor Pester.

“That Bideford Town Council match funds the Bridge Trust grant which has been awarded to the Devonshire Park Action Group to make up the shortfall required for the upgrade to the play equipment in Devonshire Park Playground.”

Proposed by Councillor Inch seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That £2,000 is granted to the Devonshire Park Action Group subject to confirmation of Bridge Trust Funds and that it is given without prejudice as the Town Council can not be responsible for the maintenance of the equipment.

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

021 SICKNESS ABSENCE
Members considered the following Notice of Motion by Councillor Pester.

“In the light of the recent article in the North Devon Journal regarding sick leave by Council Employees, I would like to receive information on sick leave taken by Town Council Staff over the last two years.”

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the report is noted

(Vote For: 8, Against: 0)

(Councillor Mrs Brenton requested that the SFGP Committee is provided with the contracts of employment and job specifications for all staff).

022 PART II CLOSED SESSION

Proposed by Councillor A T Inch, seconded 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)

023 TOWN COUNCIL GRANT

Members noted the contents of the Town Clerk’s verbal report.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Town Clerk replies to the concerned party as agreed by the Committee.

(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 7.45 pm.






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