The purpose of the report is for this Committee to consider and recommend its revenue budget for inclusion in the 2023/24 revenue budget, which will be submitted to the Policy and Finance Committee on 9 February 2023.
(Councillor Gunner redeclared his interest in Appendix B for this item. He requested that recommendation b was dealt with separately to the rest of the recommendations and that he would leave the room for this part of the meeting.)
The Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer was invited by the Chair to provide members with an overview of the report. She explained that this was the second time preparing the budget under the committee style governance system. The budget from this committee plus any growth bids would be considered at Policy and Finance Committee as part of the overall budget on 9 February before going on to Full Council on 1 March for approval.
It should be noted that the budget has been prepared against a backdrop of a significant budget gap for 2023/24. Only essential growth bids for 2023/24 had been put forward for the committee to approve. The amended growth bids listed in appendix B totalling 113k are: Small Grants Fund to community organisations including Parish Councils that are unable to apply to the UK prosperity Fund, £100k and Contribution towards Coast to Capital Careers Hub and Apprentice Enterprise Adviser Network, £12.5k.
She confirmed that the main year on year changes were shown at paragraph 3.9: Fall out of 2022/23 Growth bids; and the committees capital programme totalling £539k for 2023/24 was contained in appendix C is for the asset management programme and is comprised of: Public Conveniences £449k and Hotham Park Carriage Yard £90k.
In summing up she explained that no detail questions were received in advance of the meeting, but she was happy to try and answer any questions that members may have with the help of the officers present.
The Chair then invited questions and comments from the committee where it was raised that;
· What was the location of Sheepwash Barn. It was confirmed Middleton.
· Public Conveniences, specifically the disused toilet block in Wick, what was the plan for this, it was confirmed that there was currently a piece of work being undertaken by officers to explore converting the disused toilet block into open space to enhance the area. The proposed Economy Committee budget did not contain provision for such a conversion as that would fall within the remit of the Environment Committee. The Vice-Chair and Leader of the Council confirmed that he had spoken with the Director, and he had been assured that the Parks and Open Spaces budget would accommodate this work.
· It was requested that a Regeneration Master Plan was put together by officers and was budgeted for, so the next administration could move forward with.
· There was concern raised that there was nothing budgeted for Bognor Regis Town Hall and was it realistic that the council would not spend anything in the building. It was confirmed that the Revenue Budget was where ongoing maintenance for buildings funds came from. So it wasn’t that nothing would be spent on the building, it was that there were no expected larger capital projects in the coming financial year.
· Clarity was sought on the work budgeted for the Oyster Pond and what this was. It was explained that there were defects within the structure that required attention. It was suggested that the work to install fountains should be completed at the same time as the maintenance work is completed on the pond as it was felt this would be more cost effective.
· Further clarity was sought regarding Bognor Regis Town Hall and what was the predicted spend in 2025 – 2027 for? It was explained that the specific details were not know to the officers present, however there were a number of elements would have been expected to deteriorate over that timescale.
The Group Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer advised members that it was important for them to remember that the finances they are discussing were only indicative at this time and further additional detail would be brought to them over time.
The Chair the asked Members if they had any debate around recommendation (b) and if not, could the vote be taken on this item now.
The Vice Chair and Leader of the Council left the room.
As there was no discussion on recommendation (b) it was proposed by Councill Cooper and seconded by Councillor Pendleton.
(b) the list of uncommitted growth items as illustrated in Appendix B of this report be agreed;
The Vice Chair and Leader of the Council returned to the room for the vote on the remaining recommendations. These were proposed by Councillor Cooper and seconded by Councillor Mrs Cooper.
(a) Agree the 2023/24 Revenue Budget as illustrated in Appendix A of this report; and
(c) Agree the 2023/24 Capital Programme as illustrated in Appendix C of this report; and
RECOMMENDS TO THE POLICY AND FINANCE COMMITTEE that;
(d) the Revenue Budget, list of growth items and capital programme for this Committee be included in the overall General Fund Budget when Policy and Finance Committee considers the overall budgets at its meeting on 9 February 2023.