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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee - 24 July 2014


PRESENT:    

North Ward:    

Councillor E A Brenton
Councillor P S Christie (substitute Councillor S G Inch)
Councillor Mrs M Fulford
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:    

Councillor A T Inch
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:    

Councillor R Vanstone
Councillor M C Langmead (Town Mayor)
Councillor D R Ratcliff

IN ATTENDANCE:    

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Councillor D C Fulford
1 Member of the Public

020  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor S G Inch (South Ward – Personal)

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

Councillor R Vanstone declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 (He knows several of the contractors).

022  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

There was no public participation.

023  MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 June 2014 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 9,  Against: 0)

024  CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

The Clerk advised that the Community Payback Competition bid had been unsuccessful.

025    

a.   ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments is approved.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

b.   EXTERNAL AUDITORS CERTIFICATE AND OPINION 2013/14

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the External Auditor’s Certificate and Opinion is put as an item on the Town Council meeting agenda, with a copy of the relevant pages.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

026  PROJECT UPDATE

Port Memorial – The Town Clerk advised that confirmation of the grant funding has now been received. She outlined the covenants specified by Torridge District Council as part of the land transfer and advised that the agreements would be signed within the next couple of days.

Finger Posts – This item will be taken with bollards under Manor Court presentments.

Road Sweeper – The Town Clerk advised that the equipment has been ordered, and a crest is being sourced for the side of the cart.  Councillor Christie will assist with interviewing at the end of the week.

Memorial Flower Bed – This has been planted.

Memorial Seats on Manteo Way - These have been installed and preparations are being made for the plaques to be fixed.

Renovation of Benches - This project has not yet started.

Purchase of Chewing Gum Removal Machine – The TAP application has been submitted and support from Northam Town Council for the project has been requested.  There is still some money left in the TAP fund for other projects.

027  MANOR COURT PRESENTMENTS

It was noted that actions are on-going on a number of the Presentments.  Those requiring further action at this point were discussed as follows:

2.   That the Council contacts whoever is responsible for the upkeep of the historic bollards along the Quay, and sponsors their repainting and repair.  The Town Clerk advised that the Highways Superintendent has confirmed that the paint the Town Council is proposing to use on the bollards is acceptable.  Three quotes have been obtained to paint the bollards and finger posts.

Members discussed the quotes received.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That ADC are given the job of painting the bollards and six fingerposts provided that they are able to provide the Town Clerk with Public Liability Insurance, a method statement and risk assessment and assurances that they will protect passers-by from the paint, using their own protection measures.  Councillor Pester agreed to liaise with the contractor regarding the positioning of the fingers on the posts, and to advise which ones are redundant.

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

8.   That outside sports equipment be installed in Victoria Park for the benefit of all, for example concrete table tennis tables, more basketball hoops and football goals and that a signed fitness circuit be added. All pathways to be maintained.  The Assistant Town Clerk had sourced a large quantity of information and brochures on outdoor fitness equipment, recommendations for installation, inspection schedules and maintenance.


Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Councillors Langmead, Mrs Brenton and Pester review the information and bring a proposal back to SFGP.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

028  GRASS MAINTENANCE COSTS – BIDEFORD PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL

Members considered the costing provided by the Parochial Church Council for cutting the grass and discussed various options.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Brenton, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Town Clerk writes back to Reverend Bray and advises that although the Council are minded to give a grant towards the maintenance of the Church yard, Members feel that the grass cutting cost is too high.  Members would like to suggest that the Parochial Church Council puts this out to tender, or explores other avenues for reducing the cost, in order that the Town Council is more able to support it.  In the meantime Councillor Mrs Brenton will approach Bideford College who own grass cutting equipment, and will ascertain whether they might provide this service at a lesser cost.  The Town Clerk was asked to find out how the graveyard will be managed once it becomes closed.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

029  RESIGNATION OF THE ASSISTANT TOWN CLERK

Members received the resignation of the Assistant Town Clerk with regret.

Proposed by Councillor  Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a temporary (full time) Assistant Town Clerk be recruited from an employment agency until the permanent position can be filled. A sub-committee consisting of the Mayor, SFGP Chairman and Town Clerk is authorised to review the staffing levels and duties and report back to SFGP with an appraisal of what is required for the new role.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0 )

030  HANDYPERSON

Members considered the proposal to advertise for and select a number of self-employed handypersons to keep on file and call upon depending on the skill set required for each task.  It was agreed that a list of the various trades should be compiled, listing hourly rate, relevant trade qualifications and evidence of public liability insurance.  The list will be subject to change, depending on how well tasks are executed, and the availability of new tradespeople.  It was noted that Westcountry Maintenance Services can provide a back up service for urgent work, and that The Bridge Trust has a list of new start up tradespeople.

Proposed by Councillor  Ratcliff, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That an advert is placed in the local paper advertising for self-employed handypersons and that The Town Clerk liaises with Councillor Christie in order to contact start-up tradespersons being supported by the Bridge Trust.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

031  MAYORORAL CHAINS

Members considered the proposal to purchase a velvet collar for the Mayoress’s Chain and investigate a mechanism for keeping the Mayor’s Chain in place.

Following discussion Members felt that the velvet collar may detract from the chain, and that sufficient money had been spent on the Mayor’s chain in recent months.

Proposed by Councillor A Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That this proposal is not progressed.

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


032  GROUND STABILISATION

Members received details of the matting proposed as ground stabilisation for the War Memorial Stones area and gave consideration to authorising a 25% contribution of the cost.  (The maximum grant available is £3,000 with a £1,000 contribution for a total project cost of £4,000).  Concern was raised about where the matting would be stored, how it would be transported and who would lay it on each occasion.  The majority of Members felt however that if the grant application was successful these issues could be resolved at a later date, and if they could not be resolved, the grant would not be accepted.  Councillor Inch offered to approach Torridge District Council with a view to a joint project where they could store and transport the matting in return for its use.  
There was also some discussion about whether this expenditure would be supported by the public given the results of the previous consultation.  It was felt however, that as 75% of the funds would come via a grant, this application should be progressed.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That Bideford Town Council applies for £3,000 from Devon Remembers Grant scheme (with a 25% contribution (£1,000) of total project cost being made by BTC) to purchase £4,000 of matting for use on Remembrance Sunday and other events.  Councillor Inch will approach Torridge District Council regarding storage and transportation and a possible joint venture.

(Vote For:  7, Against: 1, abstention: 1)

033  REVISED TAXI LICENSING POLICY

Members considered the revised Taxi Licensing Policy presented by Torridge District Council.
Proposed by Councillor Pester, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the updated policy is very good and is supported by Bideford Town Council.

(Vote For:  8, 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 7.43 pm.

 





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