Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Public Speaking pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

Mr Pavitt asked a number of questions relating to the Council’s Investment Strategy, with particular regard paid to the 50% purchase of Chesterford Research Park (CRP). Questions involved the subject of risk and whether the Council had contravened government regulations by undertaking borrowing to fund the investment.

 

Mr Pavitt’s statement and questions in full have been appended to these minutes.

 

The Chairman said the Council did have an Investment Strategy in place for the 2018-19 financial year, which had been considered by the Committee in September 2017, although there was still a need to address the wider issue of governance surrounding Council investments. He thanked Mr Pavitt and said he would receive a formal response to his questions in the near future.  

 

 

2.

Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest

To receive any apologies for absence and declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Harris and Lemon.

 

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting(s) pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider the minutes of the previous meetings on 20 November 2018 (attached) and 15 January 2019 (to follow), and scrutiny status report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2018 were approved as a correct record.

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 15 January 2019 were approved as a correct record subject to appending the written public statements submitted at the meeting.

 

With regards to the status report, the Chairman said reports relating to affordable housing and the review into the Council’s handling of major planning applications would be brought to the next meeting.

 

4.

Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To receive the Cabinet Forward Plan.

Minutes:

In response to a Member question relating to the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Councillor Rolfe said the strategy originated with Uttlesford’s Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), a collaboration of organisations aiming to facilitate ‘living well’ lifestyles across the district through a matrix of activity. Partners, such as the health sector, as well as UDC, contributed to the budget of this strategy. 

 

 

5.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To receive the Scrutiny Work Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman said a report on affordable housing would be added to the agenda for the meeting on 21 March.

 

The Director – Finance and Corporate Services said there would be an increase in the number of Scrutiny meetings in the new municipal year, to allow for better pre-scrutiny of cabinet items.  

 

 

6.

Budget Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider the budget reports and associated appendices for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Howell, as Portfolio Holder for Finance and Administration, presented the budget reports for 2019-20. He said the format was different from previous years, with each budgetary scheme being applied as an appendix to the overall covering report, as each report could not be seen in isolation, but rather as part of a longer term narrative. He said he would highlight areas of the budget which he believed were of importance to the Committee.

 

Treasury Management Strategy

 

Councillor Howell highlighted the balance sheet summary and five year forecast, which showed the Council’s actual borrowings as of November 2018 as well as likely borrowings in the next five years. He said there was a change to the lending limit to local authorities, from £6 million to £3 million.

 

Capital Strategy  

 

Capital expenditure for 2019/20 was estimated to be £17 million. This was due to the renewal of the street services fleet, ICT development projects and the asset maintenance programme.

 

Councillor Howell drew the Committee’s attention to the Minimum Revenue Provision Statement 2019/20 which stipulated that where the council finances capital expenditure by debt, it must put aside resources to repay that debt in later years.

 

Capital Programme

 

Nearly £35 million had been allocated to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) for the next five years (2018/19 to 2023/24). This was to fund the developments at Reynolds Court, Walden Place and Hatherley Court. These projects had received the approval of the Housing Board.

 

Housing Revenue Account

 

The Council was still committed to investing in housing stock, particularly sheltered housing schemes, and since the introduction of self-financing had built over 100 homes. As government policy regarding borrowing caps had recently changed, officers were looking into the new financing rules to ascertain whether there would be an opportunity to do more.

 

General Fund and Council Tax 2019/20

 

Members were informed of the proposal to increase council tax by 2.99% which would mean a Band D household would pay £151.61 for 2019/20, compared to £147.21 in 2018/19.

 

A surplus of £2.2 million had been identified for 2019/20.

 

Councillor Howell said the Council had worked hard to protect the budget and most departmental budgets remained unchanged.

 

In terms of the General Funds Reserve, significant sums had been ring fenced for the Waste Depot relocation project and for strategic initiatives.

 

Section 25 report – Robustness of Estimates and Adequacy of Reserves

 

Councillor Howell highlighted the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) which showed an accumulative deficit over the next five years. To address this deficit, the Investment Strategy recommended the approval of £100 million of borrowing for investment to generate additional income. He said any use of this borrowing would be brought to Full Council for members’ consideration although now would be the time to ensure the Council had the necessary income to maintain the level of services it provided. Due to the substantial changes to government funding of local authorities, the Council was facing a deterioration in finances over the next five years, which, in part would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.