Finance and General Purposes Committee minutes

Meeting details

  • Date: 15th November 2021
  • Duration: 19:00 - 18:30

Meeting minutes:

FGP32/21To receive Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies received. All Councillors were present.

FGP33/21Declarations of Interest

No interests were declared.

FGP34/21Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 20th October were approved as a correct record and were signed by the Chairman.

FGP35/21Clerks Update

The Clerk updated Members on the progress of actions agreed at the last meeting

  • It was agreed to investigate what other Town and Parish Council’s charge for the use of their football pitches. The Clerk had started to obtain information on pitch charging arrangements from other Parishes. It was clear that there was a wide variation with some Parish Councils charging per season, per match or per hour. Additional costs also included the use of changing rooms. The Clerk would assimilate the information for the next meeting. There would be a crossover with the Property Management Committee.
  • It was agreed to investigate where the Lengthsman scheme is operating in the locality. The Clerk had made enquires with Mike Pillans the Lead Officer at Hampshire County Council, about Lengthsman Schemes in the locality and was waiting for a response. It was noted that Rowlands Castle Parish Council’s lengthsman contractor does not have the capacity to take on additional Parishes.

FGP36/21Draft Budget & Precept 2022- 2023

An income and expenditure report as at 10/11/2021 had been circulated with the papers. Members reviewed the areas of spend that were likely to exceed the allocated budget. These included:

Staffing – The Assistant Clerk’s hours had been increased

Insurance – The Council’s insurance runs 13 September to 12 September. The over spend in the accounts reflects 12 months insurance cost. Post meeting note: At the year end 5/12ths of the insurance cost will be charged to the next financial year. The over spend would also be offset by the reimbursement due from its tenants at The Clanfield Centre and Bowls & Sports Club. A separate income code has been set up to show this income.

Grounds Maintenance – The number of cuts had been increased.

The Chairman advised Members that further to Councillor comments at the Council meeting on 2nd November regarding the proposed strategy to maintain the precept at 2021/22 levels, the draft budget has been revised to includes a 1.1% increase and a precept of £181,000.

Members discussed the rationale for a 1.1% increase when inflation is at 3%. Members also discussed whether the Reserve Policy of 12 months precept might be reviewed if considered necessary.

Members discussed the following points:

  • There was no allocation for footpath maintenance. It was noted the Council is responsible for a number of paths on Down Farm Park.
  • Whether there were adequate provision in the budget for the replacement of the Calorifiers (phase 2 of the planned replacement works) at Peel Park Pavilion. The expected costs would in the region of £12k - £15k.
  • Quotes had been obtained for the replacement of the Boiler (phase 1) and that work would be carried out in the current financial year, last year’s approved budget was £5,000.
  • Noticeboard replacement – There was a discussion regarding whether funds could be allocated in the current financial year from reserves to replace the noticeboard outside the Memorial Hall and at Peel Park. Costs had been obtained and a grant application was pending. Members agreed the replacement of the noticeboard outside the Memorial Hall was a current priority but the replacement of other noticeboards would need to wait until next financial year.
  • The budget for Grounds Maintenance and clarification of the total allocation.
  • That the Parish Council costs would continue to increase and whether this has been reflected in the draft budget.

Amendments to the draft budget were agreed:

  • £1,000 allocated to footpath maintenance.
  • The Noticeboard replacement budget increased to £1,400
  • Grounds Maintenance budget was increase to £30,000.

The amendments would result in a 1.9% increase in precept which was agreed. The revised draft budget and precept of £182,507 would be presented to Council on 7th December.

FGP32/21Press & Media Policy

Members considered a draft Press & Media Policy.

Agreed amendments were:

Retweet, like and share information from partners Add HALC to the list. It was noted EHATPC does not have a social media presence.

Councillor Email’s
The value of sharing ideas via email was noted however:

  • Councillors should consider if all Councillors and Officers need to be copied in, in order to reduce unnecessary email traffic.
  • Councillors should not routinely forward email conversations to parties outside the Parish Council.
  • Council decisions should not be made by email
  • Councillors should not comment on email conversations unless you have a point to add, don’t reply if you don’t need to.
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