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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee - 13 February 2014


PRESENT:   

North Ward:   

Councillor Mrs E A Brenton
Councillor D C Fulford
Councillor Mrs M Fulford
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:   

Councillor A T Inch
Councillor S G Inch
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:   

Councillor R Vanstone
Councillor M Langmead

IN ATTENDANCE:   

Mr R D Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor D G Brenton

097  ELECTION OF A VICE CHAIRMAN

Councillor Vanstone was proposed by Councillor Langmead and seconded.

RESOLVED: That Councillor Vanstone is appointed as Vice Chairman of the Committee for the remainder of this term.

(Vote – For: 9, Against: 0)

098  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

All Members were present at the meeting.

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

Prior to the start of the meeting all Members had requested a Dispensation for agenda item 8 (setting of Members’ Allowance) which had been granted.

Councillor Mrs Brenton declared a pecuniary interest in agenda item 7.a. (refund of allowance payment).

100  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

There was no public participation.

101  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 January 2014 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 9,  Against: 0)

102  CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

No item was raised.

103  ACCOUNTS

a.   Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor S G Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments be approved.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

b.   Members received and approved the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 October – 31 December 2013.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Internal Finance Inspector’s Report for the period 1 October – 31 December 2013 is noted.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

104  MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES

Members noted the report and additional commentary from Torridge District Council.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the allowances rate remains unchanged, the payments remain the same.

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

105  BY-ELECTION ESTIMATED COSTS EMPLOYMENT OF POLL CARDS

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Bideford Town Council pay half the Bi-Election costs including the employment of Poll Cards.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

106  PROJECT UPDATE

Pannier Market Solar Panelling

Awaiting structural engineer’s report.

War Memorial

A number of the boxes have been collected, replaced, emptied with Councillor A T Inch present.

Port Memorial

Progressing to tender stage.

Solar Lighting

The Chairman advised that a recent visit to the site had returned excellent feedback.

107  COMMUNITY ACTION THROUGH SPORT (CATS) DONATION

The Chairman advised that the Bridge Trust had committed £200.  He believed that the organisers were seeking to raise £800 and had requested District Councillors to make provision from their own allowance.  (Councillor D C Fulford confirmed the approach.)

Councillor Langmead indicated that the final figure was dependent upon keeping operational costs down i.e. last year the premises were provided freely as indeed the exceptional draw prizes.

Councillor Vanstone observed that the initiative was “Torridge wide” and that all Towns and Parishes should be approached.  (Councillor Langmead confirmed that the request had been sent to all parishes.) 

Councillor Vanstone proposed that the Council should provide payment to make up any shortfall but up to £200.  Councillor A T Inch indicated support.

Councillor Mrs Brenton felt that the Council should be seen to support the Award Presentation.  She advised that Torridge had the highest obesity rates in Devon.  In making a minimum payment of £100 with a ceiling of £200 the Council would be seen to support young people in sporting activities.

Following further discussion the Chairman proposed that a payment of £200 be made but that any surplus should be rolled over to the following year’s award presentation.

Councillor Vanstone withdrew his proposal.

Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Council donates £200 to the Torridge CATS on the understanding that any surplus is rolled over to the following year’s award ceremony.

(Vote For: 9,  Against: 0)

108  DEDUCTION OF TAX FROM ALLOWANCE CHEQUES

Councillor Mrs Brenton did not believe that the report provided any clarity.  She had contacted the HRMC who advised her of two circumstances where tax is deducted and subsequently repaid: contractors on emergency tax and temporary staff.  Not believing herself to be in either category she also added that TDC did not make tax deductions / payments in the same manner.  HRMC had told her that tax should not be refunded and any tax repayment should be reflected with an “R” annotation on the appropriate payment slip (which she intimated was not the case). 

Discussion followed where other Members expressed disquiet and the need for the correct financial procedures to be followed.  Councillor S Inch felt that the Town Clerk should provide an explanation.  The Chairman suggested further investigation.

Councillor A T Inch provided a definition of Real Time payment in order to explain the system.  Councillor D Brenton believed that the Tax Code should provide for such circumstances believing the present system to be inefficient and wrong.

Members agreed with Councillor Vanstone’s request that the Accountancy Firm responsible for the payroll provide a report, in Layman’s terms, explaining the current system of deducting tax from a cadre of councillors, with subsequent refunds, when tax codes are provided at the beginning of the financial year.

Councillor Mrs Brenton noted that her P60 should have reflected the tax deducted and tax refunded.

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 6.37 pm.




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