To consider the Final Financial Plan Proposals 2019/20 to 2021/22 report.
The Chief Finance Officer presented the report on the Final Financial Plan Proposals 2019/20 to 2021/22. He brought Members attention to the cuts in the Revenue support grant since 2015/16, the reduction in management costs and gains from the Strata partnership and investment returns from Market Walk. He highlighted the significant funding and cost changes affecting the Council in future years. The proposal was to increase council tax in Teignbridge by 3.03% or £5 to £170.17 for an average Band D property. The Chief Finance Officer made reference to the business rates retention scheme, general reserves, the capital programme including funding the infrastructure delivery plan investment.
The Chief Finance Officer advised of the results of the public consultation on the Budget:-
Continue to increase council tax - to help maintain essential services. The current recommendation is a 3.03% increase, (£5 per year, for a Band D property taking the council tax to £170.17 for the year) –
· 57% agree
· 34% disagree
· 9% unsure
Back business and improve town centres –
· 69% agree
· 13% disagree
· 18% unsure
Invest in infrastructure for employment, education, transport links and sports and open spaces –
· 79% agree
· 7% disagree
· 14% unsure
Continue to support housing as a priority by enabling affordable housing and improving poor quality homes –
· 53% agree
· 24% disagree
· 23% unsure
To balance the councils budget in the future, which of these would you expect us to consider?
Generating even more income to reinvest in council services – 59%
Making more budget savings – 19%
Reducing the services we provide – 5%
Increasing council tax further – 17 %
Following on from the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 4 February 2019 the Chief Finance Officer clarified the following:-
· The burial fee increase has been due to a significant increase in wages and contractors costs and it was proposed to limit this increase to a 3% rise to reflect the comments from Overview & Scrutiny 4 February 2019
· KG 8 - cycle schemes - clarification was made that these monies had not been changed in total - just the allocations over the financial years
· Savings had come from the Strata partnership, increased income from New Homes Bonus, small asset disposals and renovation grants repaid, the impact of the increase in interest rates on investments and quick win changes with regards to seaweed removal costs, subscriptions, purchase of supplies and equipment, bank charges and savings in printing and stationery.
During discussion Members raised the following:-
· issue of the maintenance of cemeteries in particular closed cemeteries; there was a need to review the impact of the rising costs with the cemeteries. The Council had to pick up the cost of the closed cemeteries and there should be a holistic review of the cemetery service and costs
· investment in play areas and how Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 monies were allocated as some parishes were at a disadvantage whilst acknowledging some parishes had benefited particularly those with a neighbourhood plan
· why had the budget for the removal of seaweed been made?
· In the past there had been rural aid available to support parishes.
The Chief Finance Officer stated he would ask the capital review group to look at the investment for play areas as there was a programme of works for the updating of play areas. He also advised that the budget with regards to seaweed removal had been taken out as it had not been an issue in the last few years.
The Leader commented, that with regards to play areas it was essential to prioritise safety. There was a need to look at the maintenance of cemeteries, closed church yards and the different options now available to residents, a working group should be formed to examine this service. The Leader highlighted the fact that the Council no longer received a support grant and that the tax payers of Teignbridge were now benefiting from the Strata partnership and the investment in Market Walk.
RESOLVED that Executive proposed a budget as set out as in appendix 4 for revenue, with the Burial Fees to be amended to 3%, and appendix 7 for capital and that these proposals be considered together with any subsequent consultation comments for approval by Council as the final budget for 2019/20 and the outline plan for the subsequent years 2020/21 and 2021/22.