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Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;
Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting and these were recorded as follows:-
Cllr P C Smerdon declared a Personal Interest in Items 5: ‘Public Forum’ and 7: ‘Revenue Budget Proposals for 2020/21’ (Minutes OSDM.2/19 and OSDM.3/19 below refer) specifically in relation to the funding recommendations to the South Hams Community and Voluntary Service (CVS) by virtue of being a trustee of the South Hams CVS. Since there was to be no debate during the Public Forum agenda item, Cllr Smerdon proceeded to remain in the meeting during consideration of this matter. With regard to the ‘Revenue Budget Proposals for 2020/21’, Cllr Smerdon made a statement on the CVS funding proposal and then proceeded to leave the meeting room during consideration of this aspect of the agenda item.
A period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with issues raised by the public;
In accordance with the Public Forum Procedure Rules, the Chairman informed that one question had been received for consideration during the agenda item.
1. Question from Penny Elghady
‘Every district in Devon funds their local CVS (Community and Voluntary Services), helping to support their priorities in building resilient, safe and connected communities with the well-being of residents at their heart. The support of the District Council to South Hams CVS over many years has been invaluable, also in reinforcing the trust in the sector and the CVS with other funders and partners. The total withdrawal of the grant to South Hams CVS, proposed in the budget, would therefore put the CVS at significant risk of closure and the safe future of the voluntary sector in South Hams at risk. What thoughts have the Council given to how support will be provided to the voluntary and community sector in the South Hams without the core services of South Hams CVS?’
In reply, the Chairman of the Panel advised that this matter was to be considered at this meeting in conjunction with the Revenue Budget Proposals for 2020-21 agenda item (Minute OSDM.3/19 below refers). It was his intention at the appropriate time to recommend an alternative proposal whereby the £10,000 grant to the CVS should be reinstated. In the event of this proposal being approved at this meeting, then the Chairman informed that this recommendation would be considered by the Executive at its next meeting on 6 February 2020 before being presented to the Council meeting on 13 February 2020. Finally, the Chairman advised that there was further provision for public questions to be submitted to the Executive.
Ms Elghady welcomed the response given and asked a supplementary question regarding what measures the CVS could undertake in order to improve its working relations with the Council. In response, the Chairman was of the view that this was likely to become apparent during the debate at this meeting.
Members considered a report that asked for their views on the content of the draft Revenue Budget Proposals report for 2020-21.
In discussion, particular reference was made to:-
(a) a Community Transport scheme being developed in Kingsbridge. Whilst there had been no requests made for funding for 2020-21, if such a scheme was developed in Kingsbridge, then representatives would be encouraged to submit a request to the Council that would be considered during the 2021-22 draft budget setting process;
(b) Employment Estates Income of £25,000. A Member sought confirmation that this income was for the Ermington Business Units. In reply, officers confirmed that this was the case;
(c) the budget pressure derived from Housing Benefit Overpayment recoveries. When questioned, the Section 151 Officer confirmed that, as a consequence of the Universal Credit scheme and the Department of Work and Pensions Real Time Information Referrals, there were now fewer Overpayments being generated in real time and this had created a budget pressure. However, the Section 151 Officer also confirmed that this budget pressure would have no detrimental impact on claimants and was purely due to less Overpayments being generated;
(d) the Marine Infrastructure Reserve. Officers confirmed that the delay in the Batson project would result in the allocated £68,000 being retained within the Marine Infrastructure Reserve;
(e) an alternative set of Revenue Budget recommendations were PROPOSED and SECONDED as follows:-
‘1. That a fund of £400,000 be set up for Emergency Climate Change projects in order to give effect to the Action Plan being produced by the Council. It is proposed that part of the fund be open to bids from Community Groups with proposals for Climate Change projects. The mechanism for providing such funds to be established as well as the extent of the expenditure by the Council and that awarded to Community Groups;
2. That car parking charges for all car parks be frozen (cost £80,000);
3. That the budget gap of £51,543 be closed.
(NB. the total additional expenditure of the above points 1, 2 and 3 is £531,543).
This additional expenditure to be funded from:
1. The anticipated income from planning fees being increased by £75,000;
2. The anticipated income for car parking fees being increased by £50,000;
3. That an additional sum of £406,543 be used from the New Homes Bonus fund,
(NB. the total of the above to support the additional expenditure is £531,543).
In respect of Partnership Funding, the £10,000 being sought by the South Hams Community and Voluntary Service (CVS) be reinstated. (There is already £7,000 to cover this expenditure in the budget and it is proposed that the remaining balance of £3,000 be taken from the remainder of the unallocated New Homes Bonus; and
As to the remainder of the unallocated New Homes Bonus (totalling £289,616), it is proposed that this funding be earmarked as a contribution towards a reduction in the funding gap for 2021/22.
The meeting proceeded to consider each aspect of the alternative budget proposals as follows:
Emergency Climate ... view the full minutes text for item OSDM. 3/19
Members considered a report that set out the Capital Bids to the 2020/21 Capital Programme and outlined a suggested way that these Bids could be funded.
It was then: