MINUTES OF THE CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL BUDGET MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 2021 (HELD VIRTUALLY)
Cllr H Allsopp
Cllr E A Barrell
Cllr J Foster
Cllr K Grimes
Cllr G Huntley
Cllr P S Vaughan, Chairman
Cllr L Watson
Ms A Brindley, Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer.
AGENDA PART 1
C042/20. 1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr J Rowell (prior meeting), Cllr A Iley (illness). The meeting accepted these apologies, agreeing they were proper reasons for absence.
C043/20. 2. DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE PERSONAL INTEREST(S)
C044/20. 3. PUBLIC QUESTIONS.
C045/20. 4. TO CONSIDER THE PARISH COUNCIL BUDGET PROPOSALS FOR 2021/22
4.1 Choppington Parish Council is a local community council and prepares its budget and sets its precept following community engagement including approvals by our Residents Panel. In this context our wider community have established the area’s strategic priorities and all the Parish Council’s expenditure contributes to the achievement of those objectives:
- The protection and enhancement of our local environment.
- The development of opportunities and services for the young and old.
- To support the development of community facilities throughout the Parish.Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 continuing into this year the Parish Council has been unable to meet with our Residents Panel, however we have followed the Residents Panel’s recommendations which determined that over the 4 years to 2021/22 the precept should not exceed £425,000. In addition, in preparation of the budget the Council’s working party has been clear in the requirement that any increase should be kept to a minimum. It should be noted also that the Parish Council has had notice from Northumberland County Council that it has reduced the tax base for Choppington by around 1.15% which has the effect of increasing our band D by approximately £1.83. This will not be the same for all Councils. Those Councils which have new housing stock in their area will have seen an increase in their tax base, and therefore a reduction in their band D.
4.2 Financial Strategy. The Chairman and the Clerk/The Responsible Finance Officer reported on the guidance given by the budget working group which had met on 16 December 2020. The working group considered:
- Christmas festivities including lighting (new budget growth).
- Expenditure relating to the transfer of allotments at West Sleekburn, Stakeford, Choppington and Scotland Gate (new budget growth).
- Enabling contributions in respect of road safety (Bomarsund to Lord Barrington corner).
- Road safety enabling contributions for interactive signs (Ashington Drive).
- Play area enhancement (Eastgate and Liddell’s Field).
- Enabling contributions in respect of the development of a community hub in Choppington.
- Covid-19 Community recover
4.3 Members also took into consideration the following factors:
- The financial difficulties to be faced by households, as a consequence of COVID 19 and the medium-term burdens of Brexit.
- The reduction of government grant to Northumberland County Council and a predicted Council Tax rise of 4% to 5%.
- Different ways of calculating inflation ranging from CPI(H) at less than 1% to local government cost inflation of circa 3%.
- Earmarked balances and contribution to financial strategy
- Financial targets set by the Residents Panel to achieve a balanced budget in 2021/22 supported by a precept of no more than £425,000.
- Members agreed to support the direction given by the budget working group in relation to the management of resources and for the delivery of services for the period 2021/22 and 2022/23.
- Members agreed the budget for 2021/22 of £645,580
C046/20. 5. TO SET THE PARISH COUNCIL PRECEPT FOR 2021/22
The Parish Clerk/ Responsible Finance Officer advised that following adoption of the budget for 2021/22 and the allocation of £215,000 towards asset replacement/repair and projects the total anticipated expenditure for the financial year is £645,580 and that a precept for the year of £410,867 is required to support that expenditure.
- Members agreed to set the precept for 2021/22 at £410,867.
- The Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer was directed to advise Northumberland County Council of this requirement.
- The Parish Clerk was given delegated powers to finalise all contracts and service level agreements as directed by the adopted budget and to develop business plans for the delivery of services for 2021/22.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 10.45