To consider a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, copy attached as item 11
The Committee had a report before it, attached as item 11, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to the signed copy of these minutes. The report before Members set out the final budgeting report of the year, the culmination of the annual budgeting exercise, and ask members to consider.
The Chief Financial Officer introduced the report to the Committee and presented the
A Member asked the following question: Assuming the possible annual 2% Council Tax increase and identified savings won’t make up the overall shortfalls identified on agenda page 60, how will the predicted shortfalls be met? Will it be the three benefits of an improving economy outlined on agenda page 78? Members were told that chapter 6 of the report before members detailed the expected impact of budget initiatives. There were still some savings to be identified for 2021/22. It was not an unusual position to be in at the current stage of the 2021/22 budget development. However, the Council had a good track record at meeting the challenge. Measures to meet the shortfall included an increase in commercial services.
A Member asked the following question: The sum of £100,000 has been set aside for additional pressures related to people experiencing homelessness. How was this figure arrived at? Members were told that the figures were developed by calculating a cost per night against a potential rise of those in temporary accommodation (based on an increasing rate on par with figures for the last year). The Councils had been undertaking a vibrant homelessness prevention scheme, had set up the opening doors scheme and engaged in the procurement of properties for the purpose of temporary accommodation.
A Member asked the following question: Agenda Page 71 says significant investment is planned for Brooklands Park. Is there an updated estimation at this stage of what the Council will contribute to this overall? Members were told that the Council had already provided funding within the capital programme for key elements of the improvements to Brooklands Park of £836,000 which included provision of new toilets, works to the outflow pipe and new play facilities. The developed design stage was in train and officers were working to specify an initial phase of deliverables. A report would be before the March meeting of the Joint Strategic Committee which would detail phases, the total cost and how the project would be funded.
A Member asked if the museum and theatre reserves would be given to the new theatres trust. The Committee was told that the Council still had obligations with regards to maintenance of Trust buildings and there was a programmed schedule of works accordingly.
A Member asked what was being referred to in the report concerning the capital programme and public conveniences. Members were told that amounts in the budget was for expenditure on facilities in brooklands and highdown. There were other programmes for improvement .
The committee debated the budget and resolved to recommend that the joint strategic committee include a programme of works to improve public toilets.
Resolved: that the report be noted and that the Committee’s comments be considered by the Joint Strategic Committee