Venue: Council Chamber, at the Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF
Contact: Jane Fulton
A special welcome was extended to Antony Baden, the Council’s new Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer, who had commenced his employment with the Council on 20 February 2023.
Apologies for Absence
Declarations of interest
Members and Officers are invited to make any declarations of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda, and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the item or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.
Members and Officers should make their declaration by stating:
a) the item they have the interest in
b) whether it is a pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interest
c) the nature of the interest
d) if it is a pecuniary or prejudicial interest, whether they will be exercising their right to speak under Question Time
The Declaration of Interest Sheet set out below confirms those Members who had made a declaration of their personal interest as a Member of a Town or Parish Councillor or a West Sussex County Councillor, as confirmed in their Register of Interest as these declarations could apply to any of the issues to be discussed at the meeting.
The Chair reminded Councillors of the restrictions on voting outlined in Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as this confirmed that where a Member had at least two months arrears of Council Tax they must no vote on any other matter relating directly to the setting of the next year’s Council Tax, though they could remain in the meeting and could speak.
There were no Declarations of Interest made.
To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)
The Chair confirmed that one public question had been submitted for the meeting. This question has been very briefly summarised below:
(1) From Mr Hamilton to the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Chapman regarding planning application P/188/22/DOC, and Condition 30.
The Chair in drawing Public Question to a close confirmed that a schedule of the full questions asked, and the responses provided would be uploaded to the Full Council Public Question Time Web page within ten working days of the meeting.
Questions from Members with Pecuniary/Prejudicial Interests
To receive questions from Members with pecuniary/prejudicial interests (for a period of up to 15 minutes)
No questions were asked.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 18 January 2023, which are attached.
The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 18 January 2023 were approved by the Council as a correct record and would be signed by the Chair at the end of the meeting.
To receive such announcements as the Chairman may desire to lay before the Council.
The Chair confirmed that there were no announcements to be made.
To deal with business not otherwise specified in the Council summons which, in the opinion of the Chairman of the Council (in consultation with the Chief Executive), is business of such urgency as to require immediate attention by the Council.
The Council is asked to consider the Revenue and Capital Budgets for the 2023/24 financial year for both the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account.
A report from the Interim Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer is attached and considers the recommendations made by the Policy and Finance Committee following its meeting held on 9 February 2023 in respect of the Council’s Budget for 2023/24. The minutes from this meeting will be circulated separately to this agenda.
The associated statutory resolutions have been received from West Sussex County Council and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner in terms of precepts.
There are additional requirements associated with the approval of the Council’s tax base and NNDR1 for 2023/24 and special expenses.
Restrictions on voting under Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992
Members are reminded that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to this meeting. In particular it should be noted that where a Member has at least two months arrears of Council Tax, he or she must declare this to the meeting and must not vote on budget recommendations, as to do otherwise can be a criminal offence.
This item will be presented using the order below in line with Council Procedure Rule 4.3 [Procedure for Debate at Special Meetings]:
(i) Welcome by the Chair
(ii) Presentation by the Leader of the Council to deliver his Budget Statement – Councillor Gunner will make his Budget Statement and will propose the recommendations, including the associated statutory resolutions required in agreeing the Budget.
(iii) To be moved by – Councillor Gunner
(iv) Councillor Pendleton to second (may reserve her right to speak)
(v) Questions to be responded to by invited speaker(s) and/or Officers from:
(a) Members and
(b) Any other persons permitted by the Chair
(vi) Statements may then be made by:
(vii) Councillor Walsh to respond on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group
(viii) Councillor Dixon to respond on behalf of the Independent Group
(ix) Councillor Goodheart to respond on behalf of the Arun Independent Group
(x) Councillor Thurston to respond on behalf of the Green Group
(xi) Any other person permitted by the Chair
(xii) Open debate
(xiii) Councillor Pendleton to respond as seconder
(xiv) Councillor Gunner to respond as proposer
(xv) Recorded Vote required [in line with Council Procedure Rule 20.6]
(xvi) Chair to conclude the debate
The Chair confirmed that this Special Council Meeting had been called to consider the Budget for 2023/2024 and to set the Council Tax for Arun District Council. Councillors were referred to eleven recommendations set out within the agenda papers for them to consider as well as the minutes from the meeting of the Policy & Finance Committee held on 9 February 2023. These minutes had been circulated to Members and published to the Council’s web pages on 24 February 2023 along with a revised Item 8 Appendix 2 being the correct version of that Appendix relating to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). The Chair also confirmed that at Appendix 4 [The Statutory Resolutions] on page 38 of the agenda pack, in relation to Yapton Parish Council, the figure provided should read 86,050 and not 56,050. It was confirmed that this typing error did not affect any of the other figures contained within the Appendix which were otherwise correct.
Before inviting the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gunner, to present his Budget Statement, the Chair reminded Councillors of the procedure for this meeting as confirmed in the Constitution at Council Procedure Rule 4.3 and as set out in the covering agenda for the meeting.
Councillor Gunner presented his Budget Statement confirming that he wished to start by thanking the Officer team, especially the Council’s previous Interim Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer, Carolin Martlew. Working through a Zero Based Budget (ZBB) exercise with high inflation whilst producing a budget and revisiting the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan had been an immense amount of work. In recognition of this, thanks were also extended to the rest of the Finance Team for all they had done and for their hard work in preparing the budget. Thanks, was also extended to Tony Baden, the Council’s new Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer for his support since commencing his employment with the Council.
Reference was made to the vigorous process that had been applied in consulting on the Budget through the committee system. Councillor Gunner confirmed his gratitude to the Council’s Chief Executive for organising a briefing for Members on the financial outlook for the Council back in December 2022 as this had ensured that Members were very clear about the overall picture that the Council was in and in preparing to consider and agree its Budget. Councillor Gunner confirmed his gratitude to his fellow Group Leaders for accepting his offer to meet to talk through their thinking on the budget and although they had not asked for the Council Tax to be changed or the position on reserves to be altered, they had made some suggestions which had been either in the budget or spoken about and passed to Officers as suggestions. The Budget having been passed through thirteen Committee meetings had received more scrutiny than ever before but had not resulted in any Councillor voting against it to date or confirming that they wished to table any amendment to ... view the full minutes text for item 741.