Meeting of Stapleford Town Council
Friday 12th January 2018 at 7.00p.m.
In the Carnegie Centre, Warren Avenue, Stapleford, Notts.
**Please note public meetings can now be filmed by members of the public- Chairperson to ascertain at the start of the meeting if anyone will be filming in order for those who do not wish to be filmed to vacate the room * *
1 Apologies for absence
(The Town Clerk will report any apologies for absence she has received in writing prior to
the start of the meeting.)
2 Declarations of interest
(Members will be invited to declare any interests they may have on any item to be
discussed at the meeting. They will also be advised that should it become apparent
to any Member during the meeting that they do have an interest in a particular item they should alert the Chair and the Town Clerk immediately.)
3 Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 1st December 2017
4 Request(s) made by any member of the public to address the Town Council
5 Mayor’s Engagements Document 2
6 Broxtowe Borough Council Local Plan Part 2
(To receive update re this matter)
7 Section 137 Request Document 3
(To receive requests for funding under this heading)
8 Requests For Dispensations.
(The Localism Act 2011 removes the automatic dispensations for local councillors to discuss the setting of budgets. Members who are resident in Stapleford who wish to discuss the setting of the budget and annual precept should declare their intention at this point in the Meeting. Likewise, any Member, who is in receipt of a Civic Allowance, represents the Town Council in a Civic capacity or who may do so during the municipal year 2016/17 or 2017/18 and wishes to discuss items referring to Civic matters should also request a dispensation at this point in the Meeting.)
9 Budget Report/Precept Report Document 4
(The Town Clerk will present her report regarding Town Council expenditure. This report has been discussed in draft form by the Finance and General Purposes Committee and that Committee’s comments have been incorporated into this report.
(The Leader of the Town Council will present his report with regard to setting the Budget for 2018/2019.)
12 Planning Applications
(Please note that should any planning applications be received prior to the Meeting such items will be notified as an addendum.)
(To note the payment schedule.)
14 Date of next meeting. The next Meeting of Stapleford Town Council will be held on
Friday, 23rd February 2018 at 7.00p.m.
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
HELD ON 1st December 2017
Cllr C Bollen Cllr D Grindell Cllr R MacRae
Cllr R Browne Cllr B Hull * Cllr D Pearson
Cllr R Darby** Cllr J Longdon Cllr Mrs S Roome
* Cllr J Longdon left the Meeting at 8.15p.m.
**Cllr R Darby arrived following a Civic Engagement.
95/2018 Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors: A Britton, P Ensor, Mrs S Ensor, Mrs A Hull, Mrs J Goold, J McGrath, and C Rice.
It was noted that Councillor Rice, the Town Mayor had been admitted to hospital and the Meeting wished him a speedy recovery.
96/2018 Declarations of interest
Councillors: R Darby, and B Hull declared a non-pecuniary interest regarding the Town Council Allotments.
97/2018 Request(s) made by any member of the public to address the Town Council
The Town Clerk had received no requests to address the Town Council.
98/2018 Minutes of the Town Council Meeting Held on 13th October 2017
99/2018 Web Site
Following discussion of the need to update the Town Council Web Site at previous Meetings Councillors Pearson and MacRae had me with three separate web providers including the company who currently load content for the Town Council.
Councillor Pearson introduced the submission of quotes from: SWA, Hex Productions and Local Exposure Ltd. (attached an appendix to the hard copies of this minute) for updating the design and operating a web site for the Town Council and as a result of discussion the following points were noted:
- The web site design needs updating.
- The company currently undertaking the loading of information was felt, by this Meeting, to be too expensive to continue using this service.
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- The Town Clerk and her staff do not have the time to load the information on the web and it is important that the company selected to undertake the redesign of the web site will also continue to load content.
- Councillor MacRae spoke regarding the opportunity for Social Media to be included within this proposed redesign and the Town Clerk asked for it to be noted that there was no staff time to service Social Media comments.
- The Meeting was mindful to appoint SWA to update and service the Town Council Web Site and that Councillor Pearson together with Town Clerk should meet with the provider early in the New Year and report back to the Town Council regarding the proposed timescale for this project and the proposed design.
99/2018 100/18 Mayor’s Engagements
The Town Mayor’s Engagements were noted.
Members attention was drawn to the Remembrance Services and this item was subject to a separate report. However, the Town Clerk drew Members attention to the volunteers who had assisted at this event and thanked Councillors: Pearson, Grindell, Browne, and Lawton, James Laverty Music, Dr. Brendan Laverty, Mrs J Smith and Mr M Head for their assistance at these Services. Further to thank the Revd. Canon Peter Huxtable and the Clergy from St Helen’s Parish Church, together with the Salvation Army for their help and co-operation in providing the Service content and hospitality following the event.
Christmas events were noted and the Town Clerk thanked the Deputy Town Mayor and past Town Mayors who had and would be assisting at events.
It was noted that Newark and Sherwood Concert Band, who had performed at the 30th Anniversary Concert in October 2017, had been awarded a Gold Grading at the prestigious National Concert Band Festival UK, and Members sent their congratulations to the Band on their achievement.
101/2018 Remembrance Sunday
It was noted that the Remembrance Services had been a great success and the Meeting was unanimous in thanking all those involved in the organisation of the events. The Town Clerk thanked the Stapleford and District Combined Services Association for the kind letter they sent her thanking her for organising this event.
However, the Town Clerk reported that in order to maintain the safe running of the Remembrance Sunday Service it would be necessary to employ professional stewards to service the road closures. While the volunteers had done a great job, the number attending this event and the complexity of closing the roads together with health and safety issues now made it unacceptable to rely purely on volunteers.
This matter would be included within the budget discussions at the next Meeting of the Town Council.
Councillor Longdon requested that the Town Clerk write and formally thank the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for attending the Remembrance Service and this request was acquiesced to.
Councillor Longdon requested that the Town Clerk write and formally thank the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for attending the Remembrance Service and this request was acquiesced to.
102/2018 Christmas in Stapleford
The Christmas lights events had proved successful with only a few detrimental comments being received relating to the noise of the fireworks display.
This matter would be included within the budget discussions at the next Meeting of the Town Council re the sponsorship necessary for Christmas 2018.
103/2018 Section 137 Requests
Requests for assistance under Section 137 were discussed and the following decisions reached:
U3A- Transcribing Tomb Stones Stapleford Cemetery
It was agreed to award £200 to assist with the printing and publishing costs of this Project.
Pegasus Youth Football Club
It was agreed to award £300 to assist with the purchase of equipment pertinent to their activities.
Councillor R MacRae declared an interest in the following item.
wn council:23.06.17 104/2018 Town Centre Management Team (TCT)
It was noted that no TCT Meeting had taken place since the last Meeting.
Issues were raised re the footfall statistics that were issued through Broxtowe Borough Council and it was agreed that Councillor MacRae would pursue this matter.
105/2018 Neighbourhood Planning
The Meeting noted the progress to date of the Neighbourhood Plan Project.
106/2018 Allotments Report
The Allotments report was noted.
107/2018 Highways Issues in Stapleford
Members noted that a meeting of the T&T Working Group had taken place and that a further Meeting would be held in early 2018.
Information re the Town Council’s concerns concerning the highways/pavements had been sent to Nottinghamshire County Council. A meeting had been held with interested parties re the situation on Pastures Road and it was hoped that a solution acceptable to all could be found.
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Attention was drawn to the issue of pedestrian crossing being installed once the developers have completed the retirement complex on the former Sinbad site. Councillors were disappointed that Nottinghamshire County Council s appeared to be going back on this agreement to provide this very necessary road safety assistance in this area. It was noted that the provision this crossing was also a prerequisite included in the planning permission. Councillor MacRae would continue to pursue this matter and report back to the Town Council any issues relating to this matter.
The Town Council continued to express its concern regarding issues relating to public transport, particularly with regard to the reduction of the 18 in service and the lack of shopper buses serving the Tram stop.
It was agreed that this item would continue to be placed on the Agenda for Town Council Meetings when appropriate.
Nottinghamshire Minerals Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation: Upon a request from Councillor MacRae, the Town Clerk was asked to write to NCC informing it that the Town Council did not wish to see ‘Fracking ‘in this area.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Commemoration Fund: it was noted that this item referred to funding, up to £300 to support events being held to commemorate the end of the First World War. Members were advised to inform local organisations who might be planning events of this nature. It was noted that the Town Council Would be considering this matter as part of the budget process and that it was likely that the Town Council would follow a pattern similar to that undertaken in 2014 when it marked the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning Obligations Strategy Consultations – Noted
Nottinghamshire County Council’s – Local Improvement Scheme (LIS): Following discussion Members were advised to inform local groups of this opportunity to apply for funding through NCC for particular projects.
Councillor R MacRae declared an interest in the following item by dint of his serving on the Development Control Committee at Broxtowe Borough Council. he remained in the Meeting and listened to the discussion but took no part in the debate.
109/2018 PLANNING Applications
17/00732/RO -Variation on condition 2 (the development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved plans) of planning permission 15/00285/FUL (construct retail store and dwellings) to enable revisions to the design of the retail store, car park layout, landscaping and boundary treatments -Pinfold Trading Estate & Nags Head Nottingham Road, Stapleford, Nottinghamshire.
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This application engendered considerable discussion and Members considered the impact the closure of the Co-op Store in the Town Centre has had on the Town.
Further, the timetabling changes regarding the No 18 Bus, to once an hour, was discomforting residents seeking to shop in a supermarket, as this further curtailed access to shopping facilities in Beeston. There was no direct easy access to the Tram for the majority of the Town’s residents unless they had access to a car.
Following discussion, it was agreed that the Town Council wished to see Aldi construct and open its store as soon as possible and regarding this matter it would be content to see a variation that allowed for the construction of the store to commence, with the proviso that the housing units were built no longer than 36 months after the opening of the store.
Councillor Pearson was also most concerned, as was the Meeting, that Broxtowe Borough Council was so adamant that the 10 housing units incorporated on this site must be built; when the Moults Yard Site, opposite the proposed Aldi site, was lying vacant with planning permission for residential development and had done so for over 20 years.
Further, other ‘windfall’ development had been given planning consent e.g. Cambridge House and the proposed development for six housing units being considered at Bailey Street which would probably go ahead. Therefore, the need for the ten units at the Aldi site was not imperative.
It was noted that a petition was circulating through The Town requesting that Broxtowe Borough Council allow the Aldi store to be built and a public meeting was being held hosted by Aldi on 4th December 2017. It was further noted that Councillor Grindell had requested permission to speak to this item when Broxtowe Borough Council discuss it at the next Development Control Committee Meeting.
The Town Clerk was instructed to send a full Minute Reference to Broxtowe Borough Council regarding this variation.
17/00727/FUL-Construct 6 dwellings (3 pairs of semi-detached), including demolition of existing buildings – 1 Bailey Street, Stapleford
Members considered this application and following discussion agreed to support this application.
Payments were noted.
1122018 Items For Future Agenda
It was noted that the next Meeting would be primarily to discuss the Town Council Budget.
113/2018 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Town Council was scheduled to take place on Friday,12th January 2018 commencing at 7.00p.
Meeting closed at 8.50p.m.
Signed …………………………………………… Date ……………………
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STAPLEFORD TOWN COUNCIL
|TBC||Holocaust Memorial Service
|TBC||Holocaust Memorial Event||TBC|
|Sunday, 4th March
@ 9.30a.m.for 10.00a.m.
|Town Council Civic Service
St Helen’s Parish Church, Stapleford
|Town Mayor & Escort|
| Saturday, 24th March
|Broxtowe Borough Council Charity, Bollywood Ball||TBC|
Town Council:12.01.18 Document3:1
Requests for assistance with specific
projects made by voluntary organisations
Report of the Town Clerk
The Town Council has agreed to award funds allocated under the Free Resource or Section 137 funding as and where requests meet the required criteria and there is sufficient funding to meet such requests.
2 Section 137
Section 137 of the 1972 Local Government Act empowers a local council to spend up to a prescribed amount in any one year; and legislation provides for this limit to rise in accordance with the movement of the Retail Price Index in subsequent years. This Town Council, has historically, at its Budget Meeting agreed an amount for this purpose. It should be noted that the amount allowed the legislation is considerably higher than that allocated by the Town Council but to encompass this figure would result in a significant rise in the amount charged to local council tax payers in terms of the precept.
3 Free Resource
Money may be awarded for a purpose that in the opinion of the Parish/Town Council would be in ‘the interests of or directly benefit the area or its inhabitants, or of part of it, or of some of them.’*
*Arnold-Baker on Local Council Administration 9th Edition.
Arnold Baker further states: ‘The council is the judge of what is or not in the interests of the area or inhabitants provided that there is some ground for saying that the direct benefit is commensurate with this expenditure.’
4 Nature Of The Power
In general, it is accepted that the local council is the judge of what is or is not in the interests of the local area provided that there are grounds to support that the ‘benefit is commensurate with this expenditure.’ * It should be remembered that both the internal and external auditor have the power to question any such expenditure and it is then for the Town Council to justify why it approved the award. Further, as with all expenditure, it is open to an audit challenge from an elector.
New Funding Requests
5 Awards to Individuals
I have been advised by the Society of Local Council Clerk’s National Adviser that one of the most important restrictions on the allocation of funding through Section 137 is that a grant cannot be made to an individual for their own use. This restriction has been confirmed by three separate Borough Solicitors, employed by Broxtowe Borough Council.
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6 Requests for Funding
St Helen’s Parish Church
This is an exciting project being undertaken by St Helen’s Parish to enhance the facilities in the Church for community use. The annex will house toilet facilities and space for meetings and similar activities.
The Town Council has supported this project since the inception of this Administration and has awarded two allocations of £500. Further profits of £244, from the 30th Anniversary Concert, held in St Helen’s Church, were donated to this project.
Supporting papers will be available for Members information at the Meeting.
- The Meeting is asked to note this report;
- agree not to award funding as requested at 6 above; or
- Resolve: that the Council in accordance with its powers under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur the following expenditure, which in the opinion of the Council is in the interests of the area or its inhabitants and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with the expenditure.
- instruct the Town Clerk with regard to any further directions regarding the allocation of Section 137 awards.
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Town Council Awards Section 137
i) Section 137 awards will not normally be made where the monies are being sought for ongoing expenses, e.g. to run a facility and meet annual revenue costs
ii) Section 137 awards will be considered to fund one off special projects that can be demonstrated to benefit the community
iii) Section 137 awards will be made to assist with the provision of a short term service that cannot be funded in another way.
iv) Section 137 awards may be made to ensure that a partnership project is executed.
v) Section 137 awards may be made to assist a national charity with work that will benefit the local community.
vi) Section 137 awards will not normally be made to assist with the purchase of sports kit or uniform unless an exceptional case can be made for such an award.
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Report of the Town Clerk
The Town Council is required to set a budget for the coming municipal year 2018/2019 in order that the necessary steps can be undertaken to secure the Town Council’s precept for that year. It has been traditional for a report to be presented to the Town Council and this I have prepared in conjunction with the budget arrangements. Please note the figures quoted at this Meeting are up to 31st December 2017. The comments of this Committee have been incorporated into the main body of this report.
As reported last year I have prepared this report in line with the financial regulations that came into being in 1997/98. As per this legislation I am obliged to take as my base figure for the year the full precept figure as received from Broxtowe Borough Council in April 2017. I have examined the Town Council’s costs and detailed items, projects, repairs, etc. that need to be prioritised.
I have been instructed by the Leader of the Town Council to look for savings where possible and to make savings within the current financial year as appropriate.
The Town Council’s main source of income is its precept, which is drawn from the Council Charge levied on properties within the Town. A limited income is derived from letting premises. Allotments: all monies derived from the renting of allotment plots must be spent directly on or for the good of the Town’s allotment sites.
Town Council expenditure is predominantly split between the cost of enabling the Town Council maintaining the Carnegie Centre, management of the allotment sites, providing a service to the electors and ensuring that Civic Initiatives such as Remembrance, Christmas and summer activities continue to be available to the community. Thus, the more active the Town Council is, the greater the expenditure over the financial year will be.
Many organisations identify the Town Council as a main source of sponsorship in the Town and also as an information point. The majority of Council costs are fixed costs, which are determined by external agencies, for example, the cost of utilities, etc.
Monies are held by the Town Council as reserves and thus the contingency. From this fund the Town Council is able to draw to cover such costs as, special projects and ring fenced sums.
It is not necessary to precept for contingencies provided that the Town Council budgets its estimated expenditure for the next financial year and is sufficient to cover its commitments. Failure to do so will
mean continued drawing against the contingency fund.
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Establishment costs are rising, and this is unavoidable. In 2018/2019 the Town Council will need to accept that costs will rise further.
Supply of utilities, telecommunications, insurance, banking etc. are all due to increase throughout the period. The cost of power is negotiated through a local authority agreement as part of a consortium and allows the Town Council to gain discounts as part of a larger group. Discounts have also been achieved with electricity costs as part of a loyalty scheme.
Insurance costs were checked, and a competitive quote achieved. I have looked at telecommunications costs and the BT scheme is no better, no worse than the others I have looked at. Unfortunately, the size of the Town Council precludes any big discounts and the Town Council is not eligible for the incentives offered to residential customers.
Public Sector salaries have been capped at 1%. However, there have been calls for this cap to be lifted and the Trades Unions and Public-Sector Employers Organisations are currently in discussion over this matter.
The nature of activities embraced by the Town Council leave little room for manoeuvre in the area of possible savings. I look to maximise savings in administrative procedures, but the Council’s small size make it unsuitable for any large economies of scale. As much material as possible is sent by e-mail, however, legislation requires calling notices and agenda to be despatched by mail or hand delivered.
It should be noted that while the Town Council is despatching information by e-mail, so too are other organisations and this means that posters, documents etc. that would once have been delivered as hard copies now need to be printed for display or distribution. As an economy measure only one poster for each local event is being reproduced for display and Members are directed to web sites when appropriate.
At the Meeting to determine the budget for 2016/17 it was agreed to cease charging concession rates.
The allotments are a main aspect of Town Council expenditure. At its Meeting on 13th January 2016, the Town Council agreed to increase rent and water charges in 2017/18.
No increase was agreed for 2018/19 (the current year). It is for the Town Council to decide whether to increase the rent and/or water charges in 2019/20.
To date the following monies have been spent:
allotment maintenance £ 1,343 £2,875 (RF)
water £ 192
Please note that invoices are awaited from Severn Trent, in 2016/17 the cost of water in 2016/17 was £2,027
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Allotment rents/water charges received for this financial year: £10,786
Members should note that:
- works have been instructed to fence the drainage pond at the nature area on the Albany site,
- works are required to the roadway on the Albany site,
- clearance works have been instructed at the Albany site,
- clearance works have been instructed at the Bessell lane site,
- pollarding has been instructed on the Peatfield.
It is probable that some of these works will need to be carried forward into the next financial year.
Members should further note that there have been issues of vandalism/break-ins on the sites, which have resulted in extra expenditure. However, given the issues of anti-social behaviour reported in the Town, these incidences would not seem to be aimed particularly at allotment sites.
At 31st December 2017 there were number of allotments let and number being vacant:
By site: Albany 65 20 (nature area three plots)
Bessell 55 8
Ewe Lamb Lane 35 0
Nottingham Road 20 0
Peatfield 23 3
Allotment gardening is a pastime that seems to go through stages of popularity, i.e. some years it is a fashionable hobby at other times it drops completely out of fashion. Unfortunately, at the moment it appears to be in somewhat of a down turn following a period, in the early 2000’s, of being a positive trend.
The Town Council spends a considerable amount of time on the management of the allotment sites and a considerable investment in the upkeep of all the sites. The charges were raised in 2016 and should the Town Council be mindful to increase the rental costs of plots this would not be applied until 2019. Please note that all monies received in allotment charges must be spent on the upkeep and improvement of the sites. Any monies remaindered at the end of the year are ring fenced I under the allotment budget head to set aside against future expenditure.
Members should note that the costs of maintenance rises each year and due to the nature of this provision improvement/maintenance works are always necessary on an ongoing basis.
The Town Council is asked to decide whether or not to increase the cost of allotment rents and/or water charges in 2019/20 and instruct the Town Clerk with regard to this matter regarding the amount should it deem it necessary to raise the charges.
10 Civic Initiatives
The following paragraphs list a number of Civic Initiatives for consideration by the Town Council:
10:1 Christmas Lights etc.
A major refurbishment to the lights was carried out by Broxtowe Borough Council in 2016. At its Meeting in June 2016 the Town Council agreed to contribute to this refurbishment project at a cost of
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£6,300 over the next three financial years including 2016/17. The Town Council had not budgeted for this project but agreed to pay £2,300 from Reserves in 2016/17, with £2,000 being raised from the Precept in 2017/18 and 2018/19; together with an element to cover the cost of the initial £2.300 expenditure in order to return such monies to the reserve funds. It was further agreed an amount should be budgeted for each year to allow for future expenditure on the Christmas Lights if/when required; to maintain the Christmas Lights to an acceptable level.
New Christmas tree lights have been purchased and the higher resolution is obvious. The blue and white theme to match the tree lights has been continued. The lamp column lights in the Walter Parker VC Square have now been fitted with blue and white lights to match the main these.
10:2 Village Ventures
This paragraph if for Members information.
The Town Council supported this scheme, for over 20 years, providing professional drama and music in the community. At its Meeting in January 2017 the Town Council agreed to continue to sponsor this initiative. However, following Broxtowe Borough Council’s Budget setting process, Broxtowe Borough Council dropped this initiative from its budget and the Town Council could not afford to sponsor this project alone.
10:3 30TH Anniversary
The Town Council ran a successful concert to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. This event raised £244 (profit) for the St Helen’s Annex Project.
As part of the continuing recognition of the Town Council’s 30th Anniversary the Town Council at its Meeting on 13th October 2017 agreed to fund refurbishment works to the bell in the Stapleford Cemetery Chapel. It was agreed that £1,685 from the Regeneration Budget Head should be allocated for this project in this financial year, while this Budget Meeting would look again at this project re the allocation of the remaining sum of £5,000 for this work.
10:4 Hemlock Happening
The Town Council previously sponsored the Hemlock Happening since its inception. At the budget Meeting in 2016 it agreed not to continue to support this initiative. It was agreed at that Budget Meeting that the Town Council would look again at this project for 2017/18 and it was again, at this Meeting, on 13th January 2017, agreed not to sponsor this event.
The Town Council has been contacted again this year and asked to re-consider funding this event. In 2015 the Town Council sponsored this event with a contribution of: £2,000 and Liberty Leisure, on behalf of Broxtowe Borough is requesting that the Town Council allocate £2,00 towards the Hemlock Happening event.
Members are asked to decide whether or not they wish to pursue this project with regarding an allocation towards the cost of the event as requested.
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Stapleford Town Council has supported this event since 2009. Last year it allocated £1,500 to enable the Playday to take place. However, the Town Clerk has been informed, by Liberty Leisure, that a decision was made at Broxtowe Borough Council to fund this event from Borough Council funding streams. To date there is no information as to whether or not there will be a Playday event in 2018.
The Town Council is asked to decide whether it wishes to allocate £1,500 for this purpose in 2018, with the proviso that if the funding is unnecessary it can be allocated for other purposes or returned to reserves.
Please note Funding allocated in the current financial year will be reassigned or returned to reserves.
10:6 Stapleford Carnival
The Town Clerk has no information regarding the future of this event.
The Town Council is asked to decide whether it wishes to allocate funding for the Carnival in 2018. It is suggested that an upper limit of £100 is set for Town Council involvement should this event be held and that any further information re the Carnival be received it be reported to a future Meeting of the Town Council.
10:7 Summer Garden Competition
This scheme is popular with local residents. The cost of staging this event in 2017 was £324.
The only possibility to economise on this event would be to cut the prizes either monetarily or in number.
Should the Town Council be mindful to continue with this project the Town Clerk will continue to investigate economies.
The Town Council is asked to decide whether it wishes to continue with the Annual Garden Competition.
11 Civic Costs
The Town Mayor attends events both within and out with the Town. Publicity generated by the Town Mayor’s activities is central to the Office and the identification of the Town Council through this Office makes it important that the Town Mayor attends as many functions within the Town as possible. However, incumbents of this role should not ask for invitations or invite themselves to events.
It should be noted that the office of Deputy Town Mayor is not officially recognised and if the Town Council wishes it does not need to appoint an individual to this role. However, this would cause problems where the Town Mayor is unable to attend an event for any reason.
Town Mayors do not have official Escorts. However, custom and practice means that a number of organisations will automatically invite the Town Mayor and Escort. However, it has been noted by the Town Clerk that an increasing number of invitations are to the Town Mayor alone and that even when an Escort is invited a number of Civic Dignitaries are choosing to attend on their own without an Escort.
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The Town Clerk has noted that the number of invitations to events has been decreasing over the last year or so and this may be due to a number of organisations cutting back on their activities and ceasing to invite civic guests or actually run events.
Civic Allowance currently stands at £400 for the Town Mayor and the £100 for the Deputy Town Mayor with tickets to all events both out with and within the Town for the Town Mayor and their Escort, if invited, paid for by the Town Council in addition to the Civic Allowance.
Members should note that the Town Clerk is aware that there has been some discussion within the Clerk’s Association regarding the payment of this allowance and that technically the allowance should only be used for the payment of actual Civic Costs, whatever they may be. This matter is being monitored and the Town Council will be advised as required.
Members should bear in mind that attendance at events is to promote the Town and on deciding whether to bear the cost of funding the Civic Allowance and the cost of invitations it should be considered what benefit will accrue to the Town from the Town Mayor’s presence. Broxtowe Borough Council has a ‘scoring system’ in place to indicate the benefit to the Borough of the attendance at events. This process is unnecessary for the Town Council’s purposes, the relative size of the two authorities make it unnecessary to follow such a process. However, it is important that the Town Clerk oversees what invitations are accepted and the suitability of events.
The current situation regarding Local Government Finances and the Town Council’s need to economise and cut back on expenditure makes it essential that the Town Council examines all areas of expenditure, including the Civic Allowances. Please note the role of Town Mayor does to exist to provide a social life for the incumbent.
The Town Council needs to decide whether or not it continues/discontinues the following practices:
- pays for all tickets to events for the Town Mayor/Deputy Town Mayor and Escorts where an official invitation has been received; OR
- discontinues this practice and invites the incumbent of the office to pay for such tickets;
- maintains the Civic Allowances at the present rate;
- discontinues the Civic Allowance;
- amends amount paid in respect of Civic Allowance;
12 Mayoral/Civic Events
The Town Mayor hosts a number of events throughout the year at the Carnegie Centre and elsewhere in the Town, e.g. Civic Service, Remembrance Sunday etc. These are excellent opportunities for the Town Mayor to meet the local populace and demonstrate the Town Council’s commitment to the Town.
Civic Events tend to run up costs for the provision of light refreshments, staff time, publicity, PA systems and donations. I have compiled a list of events and commented as relevant:
Coffee Mornings: Held usually to support a Charity (the Town Clerk has previously donated her time for such events held in support of Armed Forces Day and the Mayor of Broxtowe’s Charities).
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Such events help to raise the profile of the Town Council and encourage individuals to enter the Carnegie Centre and find out about the Town Council. The Armed Forces Day event costs the time of one staff member.
Due to the Town Council’s involvement with the freedom Parade, which fell on Armed Forces Day 2017, no coffee morning was held in 2017. However, it is reasonable to expect this event to be held in 2018.
Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day: Both these Services are well attended and bring all sectors of the community together. The main costs are staff time, printing, hiring of the PA system and road closure costs.
The events during 2017 were well attended and given that 2018 is the Anniversary of the end of the ‘Great War’ it is expected that this event will continue. As the 11th of November falls on Sunday, in 2018 there will be only one Service of Remembrance.
However, given the numbers that attended the Remembrance Sunday Service in 2017, for the Town Council to continue to hold this event the Town Council will need to employ professional Stewards at a cost of: £/ for which costs are being sought. This matter was brought to Members attention at the Town Council Meeting held 1st December 2017.
Annual Town’s and Annual Council Meetings: Catering and staff costs. It is traditional to provide catering following these events. By holding them on the one night it keeps the cost down. The holding of these Meetings is a statutory requirement. (Cost 2017 £90)
Sherry and Mincepies: Provided for those present at the last Town Council Meeting before Christmas. (Taken in with other Christmas expenditure) Please note wine was served at this event in 2017 due to wine being left over from the 30th Anniversary event.
Town Council Civic Service: This is an annual event and is hosted by the Town Mayor. There are costs to the Town Council in staff time, printing etc. The actual monetary cost for refreshments, donations to the church concerned are relatively low. This year’s Civic service is scheduled to be held on Sunday, 4th March 2018. (The cost of the Civic Service in 2017/18 was £ 132).
Flowers: Traditionally the Town Mayor visits Stapleford residents on the following occasions: Birthdays – 90, 95, 100 and 100plus. Anniversaries 50, 60, 70 and onwards.
In the financial year 2010/11 it was agreed that an orchid plant or similar would be presented rather than a basket of flowers.
The final bill for this element of the mayoral year is dependent on how many birthdays/anniversaries there are in any one municipal year.
Flowers are also sent on other occasions, e.g. presentations to the outgoing/incoming Town Mayor etc., bereavements, illness, and special presentations. Again, costs are dependent on the number in any one year. The cost for flowers to date is: £218.
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London Bridge: The Town Clerk has previously reported on this matter, (re the event of the incumbent Monarch’s death). The Meeting should be aware that this event may have an impact on the Civic Budget. You should further note that following the demise of the Sovereign the coronation of a new Monarch will follow exactly six months after the funeral of the previous incumbent. Thus, these two events could easily fall within the one financial year and have implications for the budget.
The Town Council is asked to continue to fund in 2018/2019, the Civic Expenses and Civic initiatives Budget Heads including the items listed in this report.
13 Section 137
Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables local Councils to make awards to groups for specific projects which will benefit the Town. The Town Council makes a budget allocation for this purpose. There is a list of guidelines with regard to the allocation of such funding. Members should note that Town/Parish Council’s may allocate £7.57 per head of electors to this budget head. However, as with most Town/Parish Council’s this amount would place a considerable strain on this Town Councils precept.
Last financial year the Town Council agreed to allocate £1,000 of the budget to this expenditure. In 2017/18 £1,000 was awarded under this budget head which is likely to be spent by the end of the financial year.
The Town Council is asked to continue to allocate a fixed sum of £1,000 to cover this expenditure.
i) Carnegie Centre
The Town Council raises a small amount of income from the letting of the main hall and Council Chamber for meetings to community groups. Both areas are relatively small and are not suitable for large meetings. Many organisations have held inaugural meetings and start up events within these premises and gone on to develop and require larger premises.
The small amount of income achieved from renting rooms must be set against the costs of caretaking and housekeeping, monies received up until 31st December 2017 £5,911. Overall this activity has to be viewed as a service rather than a revenue producing activity. Lettings during the day are most cost effective as the building is open and staffed.
A number of one off meetings/events are gifted in kind where appropriate. E.g. Councillors holding one off public meetings etc.
The cost to not for profit organisations/community groups: £24 per two-hour period in the evening and £14 per two-hour period during the day. The Town Council does not charge when lettings are cancelled. There is a discounted rent charged to two groups meeting in the evening.
Weightwatchers currently rent premises on a Tuesday morning and evening and pay £25 per session.
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It is recommended that the Town Council examines the charges and that it continues to let premises as per the current arrangements.
It is recommended that the Town Council raises the rental charge by £2 per hour for those groups enjoying the long term rental discount.
It is recommended that the Town Council raises the rental charge to Weightwatchers by £2 per hour.
ii) Carnegie Centre Annex
Situated in the car park this building is now let to Rhino Plumbing on an annual lease.
The current rental is £450 per month, including cleaning costs. (This rent has been externally verified and meets market conditions).
It is recommended that the Town Council that it continues to let premises as per the current arrangements.
Building maintenance will be carried out as and when required.
It is recommended that the Town Council continues to allocate funds for building maintenance as per the current arrangements.
Members should note that a sum of £1,000 is allocated annually towards future upgrades to the computer system. The photocopier is leased from Danwood.
The Town Council is asked to note this section of the report.
Members should be aware that in the event of a casual vacancy occurring, while Members might agree that calling a by-election would not be financially prudent, such a vacancy would need to be advertised and any ten residents listed on the electoral register may call a by-election. It is impossible to know when a by-election will occur as matters out with the control of the Town Council may cause such a state of affairs.
The bill for the Local Council Elections in May 2015 was: £6,979 (this cost was split three ways)
The cost of the by-election in June 2016 was: £4,000
The Carnegie Centre is used as a polling station and the Town Council charges Broxtowe Borough Council for this purpose. However, this cost must be balanced against the recharge cost to the Town Council as the higher the rental charges for polling stations the higher the cost to the Town Council for its share of the election costs.
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Please note that as the Carnegie Centre, Main Hall is used as a polling station, the Town Council Office cannot open when an election is held. There are strict conditions within the relevant legislation governing the running of elections and the use of premises for polling purposes. Office staff are given the day off when an election is held.
The Town Council could, if it so wished, withdraw the use of the Carnegie Centre as a Polling Station. However, this would cause inconvenience to both the general public and Broxtowe Borough Council.
There is a shortage of suitable venues to utilise as polling stations throughout the country and local authorities are particularly advised against using schools wherever possible. If the Town Council was mindful to withdraw the Carnegie Centre as a polling station I would need to let Broxtowe Borough Council know immediately. Please note it is committed to providing the use of the Carnegie Centre for the Local Council Elections scheduled to be held on May 2019.
The Town Council is advised to make an annual allocation of at least £4,000 towards the costs of local elections and it is for Members to decide how much they would wish to allocate on an annual basis.
It is recommended that the Town Council agrees to allocate and ring fence sufficient funds to meet future election costs and continues to rent the Carnegie centre for use as a polling station.
The Meeting is asked to note the NJC has not yet agreed any increase to local government salaries in 2018.
However, it is understood that the Trade Unions are asking for a minimum of 5% for all increase for local authority staff, from April 2018. While this is unlikely, it should be noted that in other areas of the UK an increase of 3% has been secured. The minimum wage/living wage is likely to increase, and Members are advised to consider raising the Administration Budget by at least 5% to cover possible increases in salaries and other costs.
It is recommended that the Town Council increase this area of expenditure by at least 5% to cover salaries.
As detailed in the Precept Report you are required to set the precept for 2018/2019.
Members will recall from the last Budget Report that Town/Parish Councils are now, following changes to legislation, expected to contribute towards the Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTSS). In the current financial year, 2017/18, Broxtowe Borough Council passed on a percentage of grant funding from Central Government to assist Town/Parish Councils with this massive increase in expenditure.
At the time of writing this report the Town Clerk has been informed that Broxtowe Borough Council will be considering what if any assistance will be made to Town/Parish Councils regarding this scheme and details will be reported to the Meeting on the 12th. There is no information available yet as to whether or not Broxtowe Borough Council is planning to offer the same level of grant or any grant aid in the new financial year, 2018/19. This matter will be fully reported to the Town Council when the information is available.
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Members are advised to be mindful of this situation when setting the precept and the appendix will contain relevant information to assist with this exercise.
Members are requested to note that I have prepared this report using the accounts up to 31st December 2017.
The Town Council is asked to:
- approve this report;
- instruct the Town Clerk to enact the recommendations for the financial year 2018/2019 agreed following discussion of this report and
- give further instructions to the Town Clerk following discussion of this report as required.
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DRAFT PRECEPT 2018/2019
Report of the Town Clerk
The Town Council is required to set a precept for 2018/2019. Following consideration of the Budget Report I trust Members are now in a position to do so.
The present condition of the building, probable increases in costs of goods and services and the need to maintain the service provided to the public by the Council were all taken into consideration when discussing this matter. Together with the obligations relating to the Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTSS).
4) Proposed Government Freeze on Council Tax
I can report that the government freeze on Council Tax does not affect Town and Parish Councils. However, such bodies have been asked to show restraint when setting their precepts.
3) Increase/Decrease? Maintain at present rate?
At the time of writing I am not aware of what increase either Broxtowe Borough Council or Nottinghamshire County Council will be making on the overall rate.
As previously discussed Members will be aware that LCTSS will have an impact on council tax charges.
When deciding on the Precept for 2018/19 Members will need to decide whether or not to increase the precept to meet expected increased charges to the Town Council, cut services or take monies from reserves to cover shortfalls.
However, using money from reserves to cover such a cost is a purely short-term measure as reduced funds will not meet the cost in future years and will result in the reduction of such funds to meet emergencies or support future projects.
When discussing the precept for 2018/2019 I have listed below the percentage increases relevant to the precept. For Members’ information the percentage rises between 0% and 5% are shown below:
(The current precept is £73,861) % £ % £
1 739 – 1,108 6 4,431 – 4,801
2 1,477 – 1,845 7 5,170 – 5,540
3 2,216 – 2,585 8 5,909 – 6,278
4 2,954 – 3,324 9 6,648 – 7,017
5 3,693 – 4,062 10 7,386
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The Town Council is asked to instruct the Town Clerk regarding the following options:
- whether or not to maintain the precept at the current level; or
- whether or not to increase the precept by %;
- whether or not to allocate monies from reserves to assist with the setting of the precept;
- give further instructions to the Town Clerk