Agenda item

Cabinet Meeting - 12 January 2010 (Agenda item 6)

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 12 January 2010.

Minutes:

a)           Budget Setting Report – Estimates 2010/11 (Minute No. 4/10)

 

The Deputy Leader conveyed his thanks to all staff for their assistance in the preparation of the budget papers.  He also thanked and congratulated the Finance Team for all their hard work over the past 12 months for producing such a balanced budget in such difficult circumstances.

 

The Council, despite these uncertain times ahead, was aspiring to keep the Council Tax down until 2014 whilst maintaining the quality of its services.

 

Feedback from the extensive public consultation process had helped shape the budget and had also demonstrated the thorough work that Officers had undertaken to produce a comprehensive approach to budget setting. 

 

The Deputy Leader commended the report to the Council.

 

The Head of Finance reported on the robust nature of the budget.  He explained the number of elements that had influenced the budget which had been outside of the Council’s control.   However, he was happy to report that the Council’s Reserves still remained in a healthy position following an in depth risk review. 

 

The Opposition Leader was pleased that the forthcoming local government settlement was in the region of £11.3m, some £200,000 up on that received in the previous year.

 

He applauded the net surplus on commercial property trading activity but was disappointed that the estimated £1.7m would all be returned to the General Fund.  He asked if the £514,000 being invested in revenue expenditure on economic development activities would be sufficient given the challenging economic hardship being faced by local businesses and individuals.  The £5.7m in the Capital Programme to support both private sector and social housing had been noted but he was disappointed that the suggestion put forward by the Opposition Group for the Council to become a mortgage lender and/or social housing provider, rather than an enabler, had been ignored.

 

He mentioned the money and effort that had been expended by the Council in opposing the Local Government Review.  However, he was pleased by the recent change in emphasis that had seen the Council enter into dialogue with another authority with the objective by producing efficiency savings from shared service provision.  He hoped, however, that compulsory redundancies would be avoided if at all possible.

 

On another matter, the Opposition Leader asked the Council to confirm whether it would be supporting the Dereham Memorial Hall project with meaningful levels of aid.  He hoped that match funding opportunities could be utilised to support this scheme which he felt to be of county wide significance.

 

Referring to the revenue support grant, the Deputy Leader advised that by increasing this grant others had unfortunately been cut.   He also welcomed the local government settlement but was worried that the Council could lose out in other areas.  The General Fund balance was felt to be prudent for this authority at this time.  

 

The Deputy Leader stated that the Council would not become a mortgage lender again and felt that this was something better left to the private sector.

 

The Leader mentioned the Local Government Review and reminded Members that steps had been taken to try to defer the Review until after the forthcoming elections.  This advice had not been accepted; therefore, it was felt to be in the best interest of the Norfolk people to continue the fight and prevent such a process from happening.  Members were informed of the Judicial Review which would be taking place on 15 February 2010.

 

The Leader fully supported the Memorial Hall project and pointed out that a report would be presented to a Cabinet meeting in due course.  He also supported the Council in being a social housing provider (not a mortgage provider) and explained the policy going forward through the Active Land Management project.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)           the revenue estimates and parish council expenses for 2010/11 and outline position through to 2014/15 be approved;

 

2)           the capital estimates and associated funding for 2010/11, and outline position through to 2014/15 be approved;

 

3)           the fees and charges proposed for adoption on 1st April 2010, be approved; and

 

4)           the Council Tax for a band D property in 2010/11 be set at £64.05.

 

b)           Council Enforcement Policy (Minute No. 5/10)

 

RESOLVED that the revised Breckland Council Corporate Enforcement Policy be adopted.<2>

 

c)            St Mary the Less, Thetford (Minute No. 6/10)

 

A Member was pleased that the Council had used its powers to restore and protect this Grade II Listed Building. 

 

Another Member felt that the last sentence of the first recommendation should be added as a third recommendation, to read: “the condition of these payments, in either case, is that Breckland Council seeks the recovery of monies from the buildings owner”.

 

RESOLVED that in the event that the owner does not comply with the Urgent Works Notice, and if the grant application to English Heritage is successful:

 

1)           the full amount of £47,000 be authorised from the capital receipts to fund this work in its entirety, prior to the approval of undertaken works and subsequent claiming of funds from English Heritage to a maximum of £30,000; the remaining £17,000 be provided outright by Breckland Council; 

 

2)           if the application to English Heritage is unsuccessful, the total capital cost of £47,000 be authorised to fund this work; this would be subject to a further report back to Cabinet if and when required.

 

3)           the condition of these payments, in either case, is that Breckland Council seeks the recovery of monies from the buildings owner.

 

d)           Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 12 January 2010 be adopted.

 

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