Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 25th February, 2015
Time:
7.00pm
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
The Worshipful the Mayor (Cllr Barbara Inman); Cllr Mrs Lynne Apedaile, Cllr Paul Baker, Cllr Jim Beall, Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Mark Chatburn, Cllr Julia Cherrett, Cllr Carol Clark, Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Nigel Cooke, Cllr Gillian Corr, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Cllr Phillip Dennis, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Kevin Faulks, Cllr Robert Gibson, Cllr David Harrington, Cllr Ben Houchen, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Elliot Kennedy, Cllr Jean Kirby, Cllr Paul Kirton, Cllr Terry Laing, Cllr Miss Tina Large, Cllr Colin Leckonby, Cllr Ken Lupton, Cllr Ray McCall, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Mick Moore, Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson, Cllr Steve Nelson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Ross Patterson, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Mrs Maureen Rigg, Cllr David Rose, Cllr Michael Smith, Cllr Andrew Stephenson, Cllr Norma Stephenson O.B.E, Cllr Mick Stoker, Cllr Tracey Stott, Cllr Steve Walmsley, Cllr Mrs Sylvia Walmsley, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Mrs Mary Womphrey, Cllr Mick Womphrey, Cllr Bill Woodhead and Cllr Barry Woodhouse.
Officers:
N Schneider (CE); J Danks, G Cummings, B Brown, T Montague (R), J Humphreys (CESC); P Dobson (DNS); P Kelly (DPH); D E Bond, P K Bell (LD).
In Attendance:
Members of the public.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr David Coleman, Cllr John Gardner, Mohammed Javed, Cllr Alan Lewis and Cllr Andrew Sherris.
Item Description Decision
Public
C
97/14
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Each of the Members present had a non-prejudicial interest in relation to setting the Council Tax and a dispensation regarding their disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of agenda item 3 - Medium Term Financial Plan Update and Strategy due to having beneficial interests in properties in the borough / being Council Tax Payers.

Councillors Gibson, Nelson and Norma Stephenson declared personal non prejudicial interests in respect of agenda item 3 - Medium Term Financial Plan Update and Strategy as they were members of Tristar Board.
C
98/14
MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN UPDATE AND STRATEGY
RESOLVED that:-

1. In accordance with the Local Government Act 2003, Members note that the Section 151 Officer confirms that the following recommendations:-

a) represent a robust budget which has been prepared in line with best practice,
b) provide adequate working balances at 3% of general fund, and
c) that the controlled reserves and provisions are adequate for their purpose.

General Fund Budget

2. The reduction in Government funding between 2010/11 and 2015/16 of 52m (approximately 43% in cash terms, 59% in real terms) be noted.

3. A 2015/16 Council Tax requirement for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council of 69,851,478 be approved.

4. A 2015/16 Council Tax requirement for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council inclusive of Parish Precepts (649,128) of 70,500,606 be approved.

5. The 2015/16 budget and indicative 2015/19 MTFP as outlined in paragraphs 5.26 - 5.30 and the use of balances and reserves as outlined in paragraph 6.8 and 6.9 be approved.

Taxation

SBC

6. The Council Tax increase for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council prior to Parish, Fire and Police Precepts of 1.9%, i.e. to 1,337.60 at Band D (891.73 at Band A) be approved.

Fire, Police & Parish

7. The Police precept of 10,771,185 which equates to a Council Tax of 206.26 at Band D (137.51 at Band A) be noted.

8. The Fire precept of 3,674,304 which equates to a Council Tax of 70.36 at Band D (46.91at Band A) be noted.

9. The Parish precepts as set out in paragraph 10.4 of the budget report be noted.

Capital

10. The Capital Programme attached at Appendix A & B be approved.

Organisational and HR

11. The Pay Policy Statement attached at Appendix C to the report be approved.

Council Tax - Statutory Requirements

12. The statutory requirements for Council Tax as shown in Appendix D be approved.

Treasury Management/Prudential Code

13. The Treasury Management Strategy, Minimum Revenue Provision Statement, Investment Strategy and Prudential Indicators for 2015/16 - 2017/18 as set out in Appendix E to the report be approved.

14. The existing Local Council Tax Support Scheme continues for the financial year 2015/16.
7.00 pm - 8.00 pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
C
98/14
Consideration was given to a report on the Medium Term Financial Plan Update and Strategy.

This was the final report in setting the Council's 2015/16 budget and Council Tax and outlining the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) position to 2019.

The MTFP report for 2015/16 to 2018/19 was attached to the report. The report outlined the Council Tax proposals and budget for 2015/16 and the indicative MTFP for the next three years.

The report updated the position from that reported to Cabinet and Council in February 2014 and in particular reflected implications arising from the Autumn Statement and the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2015/16.

The approach to the financial position was revised in February 2013 to effectively freeze all service budgets. The approach recognised likely growth in Big Ticket spend areas with the strategy being that reviews would aim to stem their growth pressures. The report revised Big Ticket growth and savings estimates and updated Members on the progress of the Big Ticket reviews.

The report contained sections on:-

• Background & Context (including national position)
• Financial position at 31 December 2014
• Big Ticket Update
• Council Tax
• Updated Medium Term Financial Plan
• One-off Resources
• Capital Programme
• Business Rate Relief Scheme
• Pay Policy Statement
• Precept Levels
• Treasury Management Strategy

A table within the report outlined the managed surplus position of each service. Given the approach for Big Ticket areas, they were not included in these figures and were covered separately in the report.

The overall position for the Big Ticket areas for 2014/15, based on the position at the end of December, was summarised within the report, together with an updated position for future years.

The MTFP assumed a 1.9% increase in Council Tax. If Members opted to freeze Council Tax for 2015/16, the impact was outlined within the report.

The impact on the Medium Term Financial Plan of a decision to freeze Council Tax was approximately 500,000 in 2015/16. If the freeze grant did not continue from 2016/17 onwards, the pressure would increase to 1.3m per year.

Given the level of financial pressure facing the Council and in particular, the level of uncertainty around all future Government Funding and future Council Tax restrictions, any increase in budget pressures through accepting the freeze would make a difficult financial position even more challenging. It was therefore recommended that Council increase Council Tax by 1.9%. This would mean a 32p per week increase in Band A (48p at Band D).

The revised MTFP position based on the information within the report was summarised.

The position incorporating the Big Ticket areas was detailed within the report.

In line with the agreed approach to the MTFP, it was proposed that the 2015/16 budget gap be funded from the balance of the 7.5m reserves brought forward from 2014/15 to ensure a balanced position, with the remainder retained to manage the transition in delivering further savings in the context of the uncertainty regarding future funding allocations prior to the General Election.

The overall position on available capital and one-off resources was summarised within the report.

A table within the report demonstrated that after replenishing working balances, there would be 9.8m in one off resources to be considered as part of the 2015/16 budget.

The report had been considered by Cabinet, at its special meeting held on 19th February 2015 and a copy of the Cabinet report and an extract of the relevant Cabinet minute were provided for Members.

Members expressed their thanks to all of the Officers who had been involved in the budget process. Members considered that the budget proposals being put forward were a testament to the excellent management of the Council's financial resources.

The Director of Law and Democracy had informed Members that regulations had been issued by the Government (the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014), which made it mandatory for Councils, as soon as practicable after the regulations came in force, to amend their standing orders to include provisions requiring recorded votes at budget meetings.

The regulations had come into force and as the Council's procedure rules could, in effect, be deemed to include a requirement for recorded votes to be taken in relation to budget decisions, each decision taken at the Council meeting in relation to council tax setting, would therefore be by recorded vote. This would include any amendment motions, as well as the substantive council tax setting motion.

In the usual way, in accordance with the recorded vote procedure in Council Procedure Rules, the vote would take place by roll call of the Members present at the meeting, and recording whether they voted for, or against the motion, or abstained from voting.

Moved by Councillor Cook, seconded by Councillor Beall that:-

1. In accordance with the Local Government Act 2003, Members note that the Section 151 Officer confirms that the following recommendations:-

a) represent a robust budget which has been prepared in line with best practice,
b) provide adequate working balances at 3% of general fund, and
c) that the controlled reserves and provisions are adequate for their purpose.

General Fund Budget

2. The reduction in Government funding between 2010/11 and 2015/16 of 52m (approximately 43% in cash terms, 59% in real terms) be noted.

3. A 2015/16 Council Tax requirement for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council of 69,851,478 be approved.

4. A 2015/16 Council Tax requirement for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council inclusive of Parish Precepts (649,128) of 70,500,606 be approved.

5. The 2015/16 budget and indicative 2015/19 MTFP as outlined in paragraphs 5.26 - 5.30 and the use of balances and reserves as outlined in paragraph 6.8 and 6.9 be approved.

Taxation

SBC

6. The Council Tax increase for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council prior to Parish, Fire and Police Precepts be of 1.9%, i.e. to 1,337.60 at Band D (891.73 at Band A) be approved.

Fire, Police & Parish

7. The Police precept of 10,771,185 which equates to a Council Tax of 206.26 at Band D (137.51 at Band A) be noted.

8. The Fire precept of 3,674,304 which equates to a Council Tax of 70.36 at Band D (46.91at Band A) be noted.

9. The Parish precepts as set out in paragraph 10.4 of the budget report be noted.

Capital

10. The Capital Programme attached at Appendix A & B be approved.

Organisational and HR

11. The Pay Policy Statement attached at Appendix C to the report be approved.

Council Tax - Statutory Requirements

12. The statutory requirements for Council Tax as shown in Appendix D be approved.

Treasury Management/Prudential Code

13. The Treasury Management Strategy, Minimum Revenue Provision Statement, Investment Strategy and Prudential Indicators for 2015/16 - 2017/18 as set out in Appendix E to the report be approved.

14. The existing Local Council Tax Support Scheme continues for the financial year 2015/16.

Moved by Councillor Houchen, seconded by Councillor Mrs Rigg that the motion be amended as follows:-

3. Approve a 2015/16 Council Tax requirement for Stockton on Tees Borough Council of 68,549,074

4. Approve a 2015/16 Council Tax requirement for Stockton on Tees Borough Council inclusive of Parish Precepts (649,128) of 69,198,202

5. Approve the 2015/16 budget and indicative 2015/19 MTFP as outlined in the amended paragraphs 5.26 - 5.30 and the use of balances and reserves as outlined in paragraph 6.8 and 6.9.

9 . Approve the Council Tax for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council prior to Parish, Fire and Police Precepts be frozen at 1,312.66 at Band D (875.11 at Band A).

Details of the changes to the body of the report and the impact of the alternative recommendations were provided for Members consideration.

All other recommendations remained the same as the substantive motion.

For the amendment:-

Councillors Cherrett, Dennis, Houchen, Kennedy, Laing, Lupton, Perry, Mrs Rigg, Andrew Stephenson, Mrs Womphrey, Womphrey and Woodhead.

Against the amendment:-

Councillors Apedaile, Baker, Beall, Brown, Chatburn, Mrs Clark, Clark, Cook, Cooke, Corr, Cunningham, Dalgarno, Dixon, Faulks, Gibson, Harrington, Inman, Johnson, Kirby, Kirton, Large, Leckonby, McCall, Mrs McCoy, Moore, Mrs Nelson, Nelson, Mrs O'Donnell, Patterson, Rose, Smith, Norma Stephenson, Stoker, Stott, Walmsley, Mrs Walmsley, Wilburn, Mrs Wilburn and Woodhouse.

The amendment was not carried.

A recorded vote then took place on the substantive motion.

For the substantive motion:-

Councillors Apedaile, Baker, Beall, Brown, Chatburn, Mrs Clark, Clark, Cook, Cooke, Corr, Cunningham, Dalgarno, Dixon, Faulks, Gibson, Harrington, Inman, Johnson, Kirby, Kirton, Large, Leckonby, McCall, Mrs McCoy, Moore, Mrs Nelson, Nelson, Mrs O'Donnell, Patterson, Rose, Smith, Norma Stephenson, Stoker, Stott, Walmsley, Mrs Walmsley, Wilburn, Mrs Wilburn and Woodhouse.

Against the substantive motion:-

Councillors Cherrett, Dennis, Houchen, Kennedy, Laing, Lupton, Perry, Mrs Rigg, Andrew Stephenson, Mrs Womphrey, Womphrey and Woodhead.

The motion was carried.

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