The report of the Interim Section 151 Officer presented the revised 2019 / 20 and original 2020 / 21 General Fund Revenue Budget estimates for approval. Members were advised that the final Local Government Finance Settlement (LGFS) 2020 / 21 had not been announced by the Government. When announced, should the LGFS differ from the provisional amount received the Council’s budget estimate for 2020 / 21 would need to be revised.
In response to a number of questions, the Interim Section 151 Officer provided Members with the following information:
· The Future Council model £739,000 savings had been identified from the transformation blueprint approved by the Council.
· Staffing budget were not normally provided due to the General Data Protection Regulations and individual staff being able to be identified.
· Salary budgets were set in accordance with the staffing structure agreed as part of the transformation programme.
· The Interim Section 151 Officer explained in detail where other savings had been identified as part of the Transformation Programme. Members were advised that there were some outstanding savings to be identified and this was in addition to the further savings to be identified in 2022 / 23.
· Core Spending Power was an assessment undertaken by the Government and further explanation as to what this included was provided.
The Leader of the Council advised Members that an Interim Director of Resources, incorporating the role of Section 151 Officer, had been appointed and was due to start in March. Interviews had also been scheduled for the permanent role of Director of Resources. The Leader explained that the Resources directorate was almost up to full contingent which would allow the Council to move forward quicker with the budget.
In accordance with Procedure Rule No. 13 (5) the Chairman informed the Council that there would need to be a recorded vote on any decision relating to the budget, including the setting of Council Tax and levying a precept.
The Chairman then put the recommendations as set out in the report and the voting was as follows:
For the recommendations:
Councillors E L Bamford, M G Bassenger, B S Beale, R G Boyce, Mrs P A Channer, R P F Dewick, M R Edwards, J L Fleming, A S Fluker, B E Harker, M S Heard, M W Helm, A J Hull, K W Jarvis, J V Keyes, K M H Lagan, C Mayes, C P Morley, S P Nunn, Mrs N G F Shaughnessy, R H Siddall, J Stilts, C Swain, Mrs M E Thompson and Miss S White.
Against the recommendations:
Councillor C Morris
Councillors V J Bell, N Skeens and W Stamp.
(i) that the main details of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2020 / 21 described in section 3.4 of the report, be noted;
(ii) that the following be approved as recommended by the Strategy and Resources Committee subject to the comment in 1.1 of the report:
(a) the Revised 2019 / 20 and Original 2020 / 21 General Fund Revenue Budget Estimates (attached as Appendices 1 -3 of the report);
(b) an average Band D council tax of £202.40 (excluding parish precepts) (£5 increase) for 2020 / 21 (Appendix 1 to the report);
(c) policies on the designated use of financial reserves (Appendix 4 to the report);
(d) maintain the current policy of a minimum general fund balance of £2,600,000;
(iii) that Council gives due regard to the Interim Section 151 Officer’s statement on the robustness of budgets and adequacy of reserves in Appendix 5 to the report.