The Chair referred to the agenda report on the final financial plan proposals 2023/24 to 2025/26 to be considered by the Executive on 7 February 2023.
The Executive Member for corporate resources presented the proposals including draft revenue and capital budgets for the three years 2023/24 to 2025/26. The budget was balanced using earmarked reserves. The main issues taken into account were detailed in the report.
Parish and Town councils had been consulted, along with a public survey on the council’s website. The results of the survey would be circulated as an appendix to the final budget papers for Council on 21 February 2023. In summary: 78.33% agreed with generating more income to reinvest in council services; 34.71% agreed with making more budget savings; 8.43% agreed with reducing services; and 23.04% agreed with increasing the council tax further.
In response to questions it was noted:
· The work of scrutiny over the next couple of years in reviewing the budget and coming up with recommendations to reduce the deficit would involve comparisons with the private sector and investing to save or generate more income.
· Full results of the consultation survey would be circulated as an appendix to the Council agenda for the meeting on 21 February 2023.
· 42% supported the cost of living crises payment to all households of £5.54 at a cost of £330k. A majority did not vote for it.
· The £5.54 would be paid to households automatically for those paying through direct debit. The 20% households not paying by this method would be contacted to enable the payment.
· The lido in Teignmouth was scheduled to open for the 2023 season.
It was proposed by Councillor Gribble seconded by Councillor Bullivant and unanimously,
a) That the proposals set out in the agenda report be considered together with any subsequent consultation comments for approval by Council as the final budget for 2023/24 and the outline plan for the subsequent years 2024/25 and 2025/26.
The proposed budget includes:
· An increase in council tax of £5.54 or 2.99% to £190.71
· Providing a one-off cost of living payment of £5.54 to households liable to pay council tax on their main home on 1 April 2023 in 2023/24
· Maintaining 100% council tax support
· Continuing to react to the climate change emergency by maintaining ongoing revenue budgets for a climate change officer and associated spending, temporary staffing resources in revenue and provision in the capital programme, including ongoing provisions for corporate decarbonization schemes as per agenda report paragraph 5.5
· A £2 million provision for employment sites funded by borrowing
· Provision for an Emergency Planning officer
· Temporary funds for a Scrutiny Officer to assist Members with the Scrutiny function and working groups; appointment of a Digital transformation Manager and other temporary resources including for facilitating the Modern 25 work
· Support for housing including the Teignbridge 100 as per agenda report paragraph 5.3, whilst backing business and bringing people and organisations together for local neighbourhood planning
· The continuing reduction in new homes bonus
· Other central funding reductions – in particular provisional assumptions for business rates for future years and reset of the baseline
· Reserves at 13.0% of the net revenue budget or £2.3 million
· Infrastructure delivery plan investment funded by community infrastructure levy and external sources where available
· Continuation of grant funded South-West Regional Monitoring Programme as per agenda report paragraph 5.6
· Town centre investment in infrastructure and employment as per 5.7
· Re-establishing revenue contributions to capital initially at £300,000 per annum
· Continuation of enhanced Planning funding
· Councillors community fund set at £1,000
· Provision of £20,000 for year 2 of the ‘Tidy Teignbridge’ initiative to improve cleanliness for town and parish councils
· Paying £500,000 off our pension deficit in 2023/24 to reduce ongoing contributions
· An additional document - the Financial Plan 2023 – 2028 for adoption (at Appendix 8) and to facilitate Member progression of work plans by Overview & Scrutiny to address the budgetary position and deliver savings
b) That Council notes the mid-year review of Treasury Management at appendix 9 of the agenda report.