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Minutes of the Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee Meeting - 23 October 2014


 

PRESENT:   

North Ward:
   
Councillor Mrs M Fulford
Councillor T Johns

South Ward:   

Councillor S G Inch
Councillor P J Pester (Chairman)

East Ward:

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

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

052  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor Mrs E A Brenton (North Ward – Personal) and Councillor A T Inch (South Ward – Work Commitments).

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

Councillor R Vanstone declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 8. (Two of the organisers are related to his wife).

054  PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

There was no public participation.

055  MINUTES

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

(Vote – For:  7,  Against: 0)

056  CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

•    The Town Clerk explained the advice provided by SLCC regarding payment of the Mayor’s Allowance.  In essence it should be paid against receipted expenditure,             although if the Mayor wishes to have an advance on monies due to be spent, this can be arranged.  Discussion followed where it was suggested that if the Mayor needed to     provide an audit trail then perhaps this should also be required of the grant recipients. The current Mayor advised that he complies with the current receiptable system and     is not out of pocket as the Council deal with payment for functions etc.  The staff also organise the refreshments for the Regatta and can claim the VAT back. (Under the     previous system this was organised by the Mayor out of his/her allowance).  Following a number of suggestions it was agreed to place the proposal of a round sum allowance,     which would be subject to PAYE coupled with a further allowance requiring receipts, on the December Town Council meeting agenda.

•    The Town Clerk advised that no one as yet had applied for the role of Beadle and asked Members to encourage any interested parties.

057  ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Inch, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the list of payments is approved.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

058  PROJECT UPDATE

Port Memorial

The ground works are progressing well, and signage has been purchased to notify the public of the project timescales and funders.  The drawings for the terracotta plaques should be completed next week, but the artist has advised that the finished product will not be ready for the completion of the groundworks.  She has undertaken to have them completed in January 2015.  The bid for additional funds from FLAG for benches, soft planting and cleaning the memorial following the project was unsuccessful.  However, the cost of the edging bricks came in under budget and it has been agreed with the contractor to divert these funds to the purchase and install good quality benches.  (Previously only concrete bases were being provided by the contractor).  Once the project is finished local companies will be approached to quote for the soft planting area.  It is hoped that there will be sufficient contingency money remaining to cover this cost.

Councillor Vanstone advised that he had concerns about the durability of the brick edgers specified and Members felt a guarantee should be sought on their longeveity.  The Town Clerk advised that following a previous conversation with Councillor Vanstone she had raised this with the architect during a site meeting and had been assured that they were fit for use in the part of the scheme where they were being placed.  Following further discussion it was agreed that Councillor Vanstone would speak with the architect and express his concerns and seek assurances that the correct brick edger had been chosen.  The Town Clerk expressed the view that for future major projects she could be assigned a Councillor to work with who had the appropriate industry knowledge if possible.  Members agreed and Councillor Ratcliff asked that it be minuted that the Town Clerk had worked hard to progress the project.

Renovation of Benches

The Road Sweeper has been provided with a wire brush and a list of the benches, and has started cleaning them.  Members asked that it be noted that numerous positive comments have been received about the road sweeper.  It was felt that he is doing a fine job and is a great ambassador for the town, and the Town Clerk was asked to pass on these comments.

Outdoor Fitness Equipment

The funds have been received from the TAP fund for the installation of fitness equipment in Victoria Park.  The District Council has given a verbal agreement to the installation of the equipment subject to agreement of its location and on the proviso that the Town Council will take the responsibility for its insurance, inspection, and maintenance requirements. It was noted that the supply company should guarantee the equipment for an initial period of time and that a price will be requested from ISS for carrying out routine inspections.  Councillor Ratcliff advised that the office will need to keep copies of the inspection paperwork.

Ground Stabilisation Matting

Councillor Inch asked if there was any news on the grant request.  The Town Clerk advised that she had not yet received notification of whether it had been successful.  She asked if anyone knew if Councillor A T Inch had been able to find anywhere within Torridge to store the matting.  She was advised that nowhere had been found as yet.

Councillor Mrs Fulford asked about plans to paint the Pannier Market.  She was advised to take the question forward to Market Management.

059  GRANT REQUEST – BIDEFORD FESTIVAL COMMITTEE

Members received the grant request letter from the Bideford Festival Committee.  The Town Clerk advised that the underspend of £7,500 was still in the grants budget, as the newly formed committee had not taken this amount earlier in the year.
Whilst discussing the costs of the event, Members referred to the cost of first aid provision and felt that this was double taxation by SWAST.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and 

RECOMMENDED:  That a grant of £9,850 as requested in the letter from the Festival Committee is awarded towards the New Year’s Eve celebrations this year (2014/15)

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

060  TERRACOTTA PLAQUES FOR PORT MEMORIAL

Members received details of the increased costs for the Terracotta plaques for the Port Memorial.  It was advised that the initial quotation had been received over 15 months ago.  The Town Clerk advised that any increase would need to be met wholly by Town Council funds and that FLAG would not contribute to any increase in costs.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED: That an increase of 2.5% (£159.35) be accepted.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

061  FIXED PRICED QUOTATIONS – FORD WOODLAND

Members considered the three fixed price quotations for the work required at Ford Woodland.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded and 

RESOLVED:  That the quotation from East Devon Tree Surgeons for the arboricultural surgery is accepted.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

062  ATTENDANCE AT MEETING AND TRAINING SESSION

Members considered the attendance of The Town Clerk at
a)    Preparing for Elections Briefing, South Molton.
b)    Society Local Council Clerks AGM & Branch Meeting, Exeter

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded and 

RESOLVED:  That The Town Clerk attends both meetings.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

063  LEAVING GIFT – TOWN BEADLE

Members gave consideration to a leaving gift for the Town Beadle. Ideas were put forward and the type of gift and budget decided upon.

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the Town Clerk and Chairman of SFGP are delegated the responsibility of choosing the gift from the choice of ideas discussed, up to a maximum budget of £150.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

064  ANNUAL TROPHY FOR STREET WITH BEST FLORAL DISPLAY

Members gave consideration to an annual trophy for the town centre street with the best floral display. Following discussion, it was agreed that logistically it would be best to advertise the award and ask any streets who wished to participate to select a representative to register the street in the competition.  The representative would then be responsible for co-ordinating with the rest of the street which premises holder would display the trophy on behalf of the street, and attend the ceremony where the trophy is presented.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a budget of £250 is allocated for the purchase of a trophy to recognise the street within the town centre with the best floral display.  The competition will be organised as described in minute no. 64 above.

(Vote For: 9, Against: 0)

065  TOP HAT – TOWN CRIER

Members gave consideration to the purchase of a new top hat for the Town Crier.  The Town Crier’s current top hat dates from before WWII and is looking very worn.  The top of the hat was replaced 15 years ago, but the whole hat is now in need of recovering as a minimum.   The cost of a new hat with braid and buckle would be £330 & VAT.  The current hat would be reunited with the previous uniform, which The Town Crier currently has for safekeeping.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That a new hat is purchased for the Town Crier.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

066  NOTICE OF MOTION

Members gave consideration to the following Notice of Motion:

“That the Council continues the employment of a part-time road sweeper and examines the expansion of the post to include Handyman duties.”

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RECOMMENDED:  That the permanent position is offered to the temporary post-holder with a probationary period of 3 months. The current working hours (25) Wednesday to Sunday are to be maintained for road sweeping, with a further 12 hours allocated for general handy person duties. Members recognise that with a permanent weekend shift some flexibility will be needed and the Town Clerk could be authorised to agree occasional variations to the days worked during the week.  The Town Clerk is asked to develop a person specification and job description and complete a job evaluation with South West Employers.  This information will then be returned to SFGP in order for the salary level to be set.

(Vote For:  7, Against: 0)

067  ASSISTANCE TO TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Members gave consideration to a request from the Town Centre Partnership for the Town Clerk’s Assistant to provide 3 hours per month administration assistance for the partnership.

Proposed by Councillor Langmead, seconded and

RESOLVED:  That the request is granted for a trial period of 6 months initially.  The assistance will be for admin support only and not project development.  Should the Town Clerk’s Assistant be unavailable for a meeting due to holiday or Town Council commitments, a replacement will need to be sourced from within the partnership membership.  The Town Clerk will report back to SFGP in 6 months on the success of the initiative. 

(Vote For:  7, Against: 0)

    PART II CLOSED SESSION

Proposed by Councillor Vanstone, 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:  7,  Against: 0)

068  JOB EVALUATION – TOWN CLERK’S ASSISTANT

Members noted the contents of the Job Evaluation for the Town Clerk’s Assistant.

There is a confidential minute associated with this agenda item.
 

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.46 pm.

 


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