Agenda item

Budget proposals 2019/20 (Budget Framework - recommendation to Council)

Decision:

The Cabinet recommends to Council:

 

1.            To set a General Fund budget requirement of £14.632m for 2019/20 detailed at section 3 of this report and shown in detail at Appendix A (inclusive of special expenses).

2.            To propose a Council Tax level for 2019/20 (Band D property)

3.            To note the indicative base estimates for 2020/21 and 2021/22 as detailed in the summary at Appendix A.

4.            To approve dwelling rent decreases of 1% in accordance with Government guideline rent providing an average rent of £77.62 (an average rental decrease of £0.81 per a week)

5.            To approve an increase in garage rents of 2.5%

6.            To approve an average increase of 2.5% in service charges for communal facilities and communal rooms

7.            To approve an increase in shared ownership rents by CPI +1% (4%)

8.            To approve the Housing Revenue Account for the year 2019/20 and indicative years 2020/21 and 2021/22 detailed at section 5 of this report and shown at Appendix A

9.            Approve the General Fund Capital programme for 2019/20 to 2021/22 detailed at section 6 of this report and shown at Appendix D

10.         Approve the Capital Financing statement detailed at Appendix D

11.         Approve the Housing Investment programme for 2019/20 to 2021/22 detailed at section 6 of this report and as shown at Appendix D

12.         Approve the Capital Financing statement detailed at Appendix D

13.         To approve the movements in Revenue and Capital reserves and balances detailed at section 8 of this report and shown at Appendix E.

14.         To approve the movements in HRA revenue and Capital reserves and balances detailed at section 8 of this report and shown at Appendix E.

15.         To approve the fees and charges detailed at section 4 of this report and shown at Appendix F.

16.         To approve the Treasury Management Strategy detailed at section 7 of this report and provided at Appendix G

17.         To approve the Capital Strategy detailed at section 6 of this report and provided at Appendix H

18.         To approve the Property Investment Policy detailed at section 6 of this report and provided at Appendix I

19.         That the title of the report is changed from ‘Budget Proposals 2019/20’ to ‘A district that works for everyone, delivering opportunity’

Reasons for decision:

 

1.            The report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing, which was presented to Cabinet on 7 February 2019

2.            The report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing, which was considered by Cabinet on 17 January 2019

3.            The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 17 January 2019 at which the Council agreed its draft Budget 2019/20, including provision for a Scrutiny Officer, and approved consultation on Council Tax levels

4.            Comments made by the Budget Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 10 January 2019

5.            Feedback from Council Tax consultation which ran from 21 January 2019 to 4 February 2019

6.            The provisional finance settlement 2019/20

7.            The funding position for the General Fund (paragraph 4.1 of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

8.            The General Fund Budget Estimates (paragraph 4.2 of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

9.            General Fund capacity bids detailed in Appendix B of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

10.         Savings proposals set out in Appendix C of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing

11.         Fees and charges proposals (paragraph 4.10 and Appendix D of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

12.         The Housing Revenue Account position (paragraph 4.11 of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

13.         Capital investment proposals for 2019/20 to 2021/22 and the Capital Strategy (paragraph 4.14 and Appendix H of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing respectively)

14.         The Treasury Management Strategy (paragraph 4.21 and Appendix G of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

15.         The Property and Investment Policy (Appendix I to the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

16.         Information on Reserves and Balances (paragraph 4.24 and Appendix E of the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing)

17.         Budget proposals to enable Council-owned companies, InvestSK and EnvironmentSK, to deliver the outcomes that the Council had set during their first year of trading

18.         The Equality Analysis attached as Appendix J to the report of the Cabinet Members for Finance and Housing

19.         The statutory requirement to set a balanced budget for each financial year

20.         Provisions within the Local Government Finance Act 1992

21.         Provisions within the Local Government Act 2003

 

Other options considered and rejected:

 

Option 1: A Council Tax increase of £5 on a Band D property

Option 2: A Council Tax increase of 3% (£4.60) on a Band D property

Option 3: No Council Tax increase

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member introduced his report on the Budget proposals for 2019/20. In doing so he explained that the Council was required to set a balanced budget and that the proposals set out in the report were based on a Council Tax increase of £5 on a Band D property while supporting the Council in meeting its growth ambitions. Since the Cabinet had met on 17 January 2019, there had been a public consultation exercise on Council Tax proposals, which ran between 21 January and 4 February 2019.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance highlighted the change that had been made to accommodate budgetary provision for a Scrutiny Officer since Cabinet had considered the draft Budget proposals on 17 January 2019. He informed Cabinet Members that, in respect of proposals relating to the use of the Council’s reserves, that their levels would still be higher than other local authorities and supported by assets that would provide the Council with income in the future.

 

Members of the Cabinet were given the opportunity to debate the Budget proposals, key points raised in debate included:

 

·         The review of the Council’s committee arrangements to make the Council’s decision-making arrangements work in the best way possible, from which the recommendation for a Scrutiny Officer had arisen

·         The creation of a new website for the Council to replace outdated technology

·         Improvements that were being made to IT to enable the organisation to work in a modern and agile way

·         The intention to continue conducting an annual staff survey and the recent launch of the new Employee Handbook

·         The Council was able to increase Council Tax by £5 on a Band D property because it had a dispensation from Government as it was one of the lowest charging authorities in the country

·         The work being undertaken by ‘Little Clean’ teams, which were part of the legacy of the ‘Big Clean’ initiative

·         Work had been undertaken to align the vehicle replacement schedule so that it would have a more event effect on the Budget

·         If the Council did not increase Council Tax then it would impact on the services that it could deliver and its ability to achieve its ambitions

·         The preparation of the Budget had included engagement and involvement from all parties through the Scrutiny function

·         The prices for market stalls had been frozen to assist natural growth and a new market was being launched in Market Deeping

·         Bus station charges had been frozen

·         Investment in visitor economy included a new visitor website and a new festival for Bourne; funding for the visitor guide had also been secured for a further year

·         The Budget included £50k of additional support to help businesses move into new premises, which would bring economic benefits in the future

·         The Property Investment Policy stated that it was an ambition of the Council to continue growing the economy

·         The Council had exchanged contracts in the purchase of the Cummins Generator site in Stamford on Monday 4 February 2019

·         Work was underway on the Council’s Asset Management Strategy to make sure the Council was effective managing its assets and achieve the right return

·         There was a commitment to regenerating all parts of the district, either by the Council directly, a private sector partner or one of the Council’s companies

·         The new cinema development in Grantham would be an asset both to the Council and the town

·         The creation of a Technology and Innovation Centre as part of the cinema project would bring a higher education offer to the district

·         The Budget included £100k additional spend to support the skills agenda

·         Proposals in the Budget would enable the development of additional Council homes and help resolve housing issues that exist within the district

 

The Leader recorded his thanks to the Members and officers who put together the Budget and highlighted his aim to strive for continual improvement and wanting the Council to be seen as organisation that wants to engaged and support people.

 

It was agreed that the Cabinet RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL:

 

1.            To set a General Fund budget requirement of £14.632m for 2019/20 detailed at section 3 of this report and shown in detail at Appendix A (inclusive of special expenses).

2.            To propose a Council Tax level of £5 for 2019/20 (Band D property)

3.            To note the indicative base estimates for 2020/21 and 2021/22 as detailed in the summary at Appendix A.

4.            To approve dwelling rent decreases of 1% in accordance with Government guideline rent providing an average rent of £77.62 (an average rental decrease of £0.81 per a week)

5.            To approve an increase in garage rents of 2.5%

6.            To approve an average increase of 2.5% in service charges for communal facilities and communal rooms

7.            To approve an increase in shared ownership rents by CPI +1% (4%)

8.            To approve the Housing Revenue Account for the year 2019/20 and indicative years 2020/21 and 2021/22 detailed at section 5 of this report and shown at Appendix A

9.            Approve the General Fund Capital programme for 2019/20 to 2021/22 detailed at section 6 of this report and shown at Appendix D

10.         Approve the Capital Financing statement detailed at Appendix D

11.         Approve the Housing Investment programme for 2019/20 to 2021/22 detailed at section 6 of this report and as shown at Appendix D

12.         Approve the Capital Financing statement detailed at Appendix D

13.         To approve the movements in Revenue and Capital reserves and balances detailed at section 8 of this report and shown at Appendix E.

14.         To approve the movements in HRA revenue and Capital reserves and balances detailed at section 8 of this report and shown at Appendix E.

15.         To approve the fees and charges detailed at section 4 of this report and shown at Appendix F.

16.         To approve the Treasury Management Strategy detailed at section 7 of this report and provided at Appendix G

17.         To approve the Capital Strategy detailed at section 6 of this report and provided at Appendix H

18.         To approve the Property Investment Policy detailed at section 6 of this report and provided at Appendix I

19.         That the title of the report is changed from ‘Budget Proposals 2019/20’ to ‘A district that works for everyone, delivering opportunity’

Supporting documents: