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You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so. A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.
It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G. Collier, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, Interim Chief Officer Commercial and Corporate Director of Education.
Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.
To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.
Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources.
At the invitation of the Chair, the Chief Officer Resources commenced by advising that this was the final stage of the 2021/2022 budget setting process which, brought together the budget decisions of Council which had previously been made together with the precepts as notified by the statutory authorities. In addition, the report highlighted and set out the budget requirement for 2021/2022, the overall Council Tax level for 2021/2022 which included the statutory precepts and the relevant statutory resolutions.
It was noted that the Council had calculated the amounts for the year (2021/2022) in accordance with regulations made under Section 33(5) of the Local Government Act 1992 and details of the overall Council Tax proposals including the valuation bands were provided within paragraph 3.4(k) of the report
Members were advised of the following correction to the report. It was noted that the amount of £224,556,491 referred to in paragraph 3.4(a) should be amended to read £224,856,491.
The Chief Officer continued by advising that the precept from the Gwent Office of Police and Crime Commissioner for 2021/2022 totalled £5,987,866 and the Town/Community Councils precept for the same period totalled £456,101.
Table 1 attached at Appendix 1, provided a summary of the resulting portfolio estimates taking into account the Bridging the Gap proposals, cost pressures and growth items. In addition, £1.254m would be transferred into the Council’s reserves. This resulted in a statutory budget requirement of £157,379,330. Discretionary rate relief of £208,000 would also need to be added to the budget requirement to give the total net revenue budget for 2021/2022 of £157,587,330.
To conclude, the Chief Officer Resources reported on the following two points in accordance with the requirements of Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003:
i. The robustness of the estimates included in the budget.
ii. The adequacy of the Authority’s reserves.
The Chief Officer was able to conclude that the estimates had been compiled with the most up to date information available and were suitably robust. Cost pressures had been considered during the budget setting process and for the medium term.
In respect of the adequacy of the Authority’s reserves, paragraphs 5.1.9 to 5.1.12 of the report demonstrated that the Authority was looking to achieve a sustainable position for the forthcoming year and in the medium term. The reserves protocol would continue to review reserves in order to ensure that General Reserves were kept at a sustainable level in the medium term.
The Leader of the Labour Group advised that neither of the Labour Group or the Minority Independent Group supported the 3.3% increase in the level of council tax or indeed any other increase above the rate of inflation and requested that this be noted accordingly.
The Leader of the Council stated that the Council had a statutory responsibility to agree the report and the options were outlined in paragraph 3. Several of these recommendations were for noting purposes only and one recommendation was ... view the full minutes text for item 4.