The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources presenting:
· for noting, the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement announced by the Government on 17 December 2020;
· the revised 2020 / 21 and original 2021 / 22 General Fund Revenue Budget estimate (attached as Appendices 1, 2 and 3 to the report);
· the proposed Council Tax increase for 2021 / 22 (attached as Appendix 1);
· the policy for the use of Reserves (attached as Appendix 4).
The report and associated appendices to the report outlined the following:
· the latest information on the provisional Local Government finance settlement 2021 / 22;
· revised General Fund revenue budget estimates 2020 / 21;
· original General Fund revenue budget estimates 2020 / 21;
· budget growth, savings and income generation in 2021 / 22;
· New Homes Bonus (NHB);
· Future Council model;
· Pension Fund deficit recovery;
· funding for work on Bradwell B (BRB) Power Station and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL);
· Essex region business rates pool;
· an update on interest on investments;
· the Council Tax requirement for 2021 / 22;
· Council Tax £5 increase on 2020 / 21 Band D Basic amount;
· General Fund balance and revenue reserves;
· Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS);
· risks to the Council’s financial position.
The Director of Resources reported that due to the unknown impact of future changes to Local Government finance, it was proposed that the Council should take the opportunity to increase its financial base by increasing the average band D Council Tax by £5, the maximum allowed for by the government before a referendum is required.
The Chairman put the recommendations as set out in the report. These were duly seconded.
In response to a query the Director of Resources advised that:
· the Essex Region Business Rates Pool was coordinated by Essex County Council and pooling was based on actuals which were not known until the end of each financial year.
· the Government had recently announced a further £1.5m to be allocated in respect of audit fees, although it was not yet known what proportion of this Maldon District Council would receive.
The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report and these were duly agreed by assent.
(i) That the main details of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2021 / 22 as set out in paragraph 3.4 of the report be noted;
(ii) that the following be approved:
(a) the Revised 2020 / 21 and Original 2021/22 General Fund Revenue Budget Estimates (attached at Appendices 1 2 and 3 to the report);
(b) an average Band D council tax of £207.40 (excluding parish precepts) (£5 increase) for 2021/22 (attached at Appendix 1 to the report);
(c) policies on the designated use of financial reserves (attached at Appendix 3 to the report);
(d) maintain the current policy of a minimum general fund balance of £2,600,000;
(iii) that the Council gives due regard to the Director of Resources’ (Section 151 Officer) statement on the robustness of budgets and adequacy of reserves in attached at Appendix 5 to the report.