In order to continue the Town Council’s commitment to be open and transparent with its business, the Finance, Staffing and Performance Management (FSPM) Committee agenda was revised so that the majority of the budget setting process, and the proposed precept (council tax), could be discussed in ‘open’ public session.
The minutes of the budget meeting held on 3 January 2019 will be available on the Council’s website for those who wish to access and review at a later stage. The Council will also be uploading a copy of the budget for 2019/20 onto the Council’s website www.bodmin.gov.uk
The budget meeting lasted for around 6 hours which demonstrates the amount of time that Members considered in detail the budget for 2019/20.
Prior to any deliberations Councillors had on the budget, the precept has been influenced by two external factors which are outside the control and influence of the Town Council.
1. The Council Tax Support Grant has reduced by 9.39% for 2019/20, equating to £7.602.89.
This Grant has reduced year-on-year with the 2018/19 reduction being 12.55% which equated to £11,619.86. This is a cascade issue to the local (parish and town) council tier following central government adjustments to the way in which council tax benefits are calculated.
2. The National Joint Council (NJC) pay award which recognises the requirements of the roles of Council employees by nationally agreeing local government workers pay.
2019/20 could see adjustments to pay scales, subject to discussions with Unions, leading to a minimum 2% increase on salaries.
Like all Councils, and often businesses, salaries can be one of the primary costs. Bodmin Town Council’s salary costs are predicted to be in the region of £705,000. The Council has committed as part of its aims and objectives to carry out a future staff review to ensure that it has capacity to manage its resources to meet emerging and new challenges.
The FSPM also took the opportunity to link the budget to the delivery of the Council’s aims and objectives agreed earlier in the year and which are, for a number of objectives, based on feedback received from residents. The Committee also made the decision to stop, or postpone other areas of non-essential work not linked to the Council’s objectives.
Over the remaining term of this Council (2017 to 2021) we aim to:
- Build a long awaited modern, concrete skate park in the Priory Park with its design and layout agreed through consultation with users;
- Develop a new cemetery with the first stage being land acquisition;
- Seek residents views on the development of a Neighbourhood Plan;
- Relocate Council offices to the Shire Hall and subject to planning permissions / consents maximise the use of the Shire House to make the Council facilities more accessible and the Suite more affordable;
- Refurbish the Fair Park toilets as phase 1 with Priory Park toilets being considered as a phase 2 and pending further discussion by Council;
- Complete a review of our staffing structure as mentioned above;
- Support a number of community activities / groups in the town which, in turn, support residents and visitors or contribute to improving the environment in which we live.
These community activities and groups include:
- The Carnival Committee;
- Bodmin Joint St Piran Committee – St. Piran’s Day Parade;
- Heritage Day;
- Remembrance Parade;
- Christmas Lights, trees and festivities;
- Youth Football at Coldharbour with exploration of a match funded project to improve and enhance facilities;
- Planting of bulbs at various locations throughout the town and supporting waste collection;
- Hanging baskets at the Mount Folly and Honey Street (watering);
- Dog waste bins and benches at all park areas;
- Encourage young people to take part in projects that aim to encourage a connection with the town in which they live;
- Improve and replace bus shelters;
- Play area improvements and ongoing maintenance;
The FSPM Committee also ensured funding was available to continue our commitment to:
- Maintain our buildings, car parks, open spaces and play areas;
- Meet statutory and legal obligations.
- Protect the public through the expansion of CCTV;
- Maximise our assets to minimise the impact on residents through the Council tax
The FSPM Committee recommended a precept of £1,433,125 for the financial year 2019/20, an increase from of 8.72% which equates to a 50 pence per week increase on a Band D property.
For information, the precept for 2018/19 was £1,283,850 representing an increase of 2.37% on a Band D property (13.3 pence per week).