Report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive to the Strategy and Resources Committee on 7th February 2022 (attached), and
(a) Minute Extract of Strategy and Resources on 7th February 2022 (attached).
The Committee considered a report by the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (circulated previously) regarding the review of Charges and Fees for 2022/23 together with Minute Extract of Strategy and Resources on 7th February 2022.
The Accountancy Services Manager highlighted the following:
· This year the guidance was to increase some fees and charges by 2%, although some fees were set by statute and these would be set nationally. Other variations to the 2% increase were set out in paragraphs 4.3 to 4.8 of the report. Even though inflation was currently running much higher than the 2% increase officers have tried to be prudent and fair in the fees that were charged and the impact this had on our customers.
· Building Control fees have been raised by an average of 3% and rounded to the nearest pound, this was to ensure they were competitive in the sector of the market and also that the income recouped the cost of providing the service (detailed in Appendix B of the report).
· Land Charges fees had been set to recoup the cost of providing the service, without changing the current fees the land charges service was still budgeted to recover all the costs and break even (detailed in Appendix D of the report).
· There was one change to the Environment Health fees, as the majority of these were set by statute or set to recover costs, which was the introduction of a £10 fee for taxi and private hire driver safeguarding training (detailed in Appendix E of the report).
· Although it was proposed that the Pannier Market fees be increased by 2% it was proposed to make the charge inclusive of VAT, which enabled the Council to recover the VAT on the planned capital works required for the Pannier Market as part of the Future High Streets Project, which was due to start in 2022/23. Other than the 2% inflationary increase there is no other change to the traders as the loss of income in relation to the VAT change would fall with the Council and this income reduction had been built into the 2022/23 draft budget (detailed in Appendix H of the report).
· Bulky Waste – it was proposed to increase the fees as follows:
o Up to 2 items £18.00 (5.88% increase)
o Up to 3 items £26.00 (4% increase)
o Up to 4 items £33.00 (3.13% increase).
· It was proposed to increase the Garden Waste charge by £5 to £45.
· The net changes in the charges were expected to result in £104,000 of additional income which has been included within the draft 2022/23 budget.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Director of Resources advised the following:
· With regards to the fees for bulky waste and their cost effectiveness, the Committee was advised that there was still a small subsidy applied by the Council to cover the cost for providing the service.
· A report was presented to the Strategy and Resources Committee on 7th February 2022 by the Public Protection Manager regarding the approval of a nominal fee of £10 for taxi and private hire driver safeguarding training, if there was a need for the Council, to book such training on behalf of a driver. This fee was proposed in order that the Council may recover its costs appropriately.
(a) that the decisions and recommendations of the Strategy and Resources Committee be endorsed; and
(b) agreed with the recommendation made by the Strategy and Resources Committee that there be a 0% increase in fees for 2022/23 financial year for the Pannier Market Charges – Appendix H be endorsed.