To receive the report of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 6 February 2023 (attached).
Councillor Worden, Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee reported the Committee’s recommendations on the Revenue Budget 2023-24, Capital Programme and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-24 to 2028-29 (circulated previously).
In response to questions, the Director of Resources advised the following:
· The potential additional income from the extra Council Tax on Second Homes increase in 2024/25 would as currently be split up proportionally between major preceptors. There was opportunity for early discussions with Devon County Council via the Chief Executive and the Leader as part of the wider Team Devon group regarding the re-investment of this overall additional income to help with the housing crisis.
· The 2022/23 Green Lanes budget was based on the original gross rental projections less capital costs and asset management fees. The net return was budgeted at £345,000 which helped to fund other projects and also included £75,000 for corporate property income reserve and £100,000 for the Economic Regeneration reserve for wider projects. For 2023/24, the projected net return would be slightly higher as it would include the car park charges increase and it was estimated that it would be nearer a net return of £400,000.
· The New Homes Bonus was previously a multi-year scheme and it was previously announced that it would decrease. Changes to the scheme had reduced it from 6 to 4 years and the legacy payments had now been removed. Only a 1 year settlement was now received at a much lower amount. For 2023/24, the Council would receive £448,000, which was around £1 million less than was received for 2022/23. All Councils had seen a decline in New Homes Bonus funding. A new 3% funding guarantee had been introduced in 2023/24 to ensure Council’s overall funding levels were not lower than the previous year 2022/23.
· Funding to the Theatres had not been included on the strategic grant appendix for the past few years. The strategic grants were for community and voluntary organisations rather than subsidies. Funding for the theatres for 2023/24 was budgeted at £145,000 which included inflationary increases in accordance with the contract and no additional funding had been awarded. The Capital Programme included a couple of projecst for improvements to be made and discussions were being held with Selladoor regarding the properties.
· The Council was required to set a balanced budget and was not allowed to budget for a surplus.
· Following the end of the current 2022/23 financial year, the Council would review any underspends and consider how these could be utilised to cover any overspends in other areas. The strategic grants for community and voluntary organisations did not include inflation. The Council had provided financial assistance to Citizens Advice by providing accommodation at Lynton House which was one tenth of the cost of the rental that they had paid previously. The team met regularly with the community and voluntary organisations in receipt of the Strategic Grants, none of which had requested additional funding under their service level agreements. It was positive that it was not proposed to reduce the level of strategic grants.
Councillor Gubb left the meeting.
It was moved by Councillor Worden and seconded by Councillor Prowse “that the recommendation in minute 93(c) “Temporary Accommodation and Homelessness Update” and recommendations in minute 98 (f) – (i) “Revenue Budget 2023-24, Capital Programme and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-24 to 2028-29” of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 6 February 2023 be adopted.”
Council noted that in accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 which came into force on 25 February 2014 and the Constitution, Council was required to take a recorded vote when setting its budget and Council Tax.
Voting on the motion:
Voting for the motion: Councillors Biederman, Bushell, Campbell, Cann, Davies, Henderson, Hunt, Knight, Leaver, Ley, Lofthouse, Lovering, Mack, Mackie, Orange, Patrinos, Prowse, Roome, D. Spear, L. Spear, Tucker, Worden, Yabsley and York.
Voting against the motion: Councillor Lane.
Abstained from voting on the motion: None.
Totals: 24 For, 1 Against and 0 Abstained.
NOTE: Councillor Walker was not present during the voting.
The motion was carried.
RESOLVED that the recommendation in minute 93(c) “Temporary Accommodation and Homelessness Update” and recommendations in minute 98 (f) – (i) “Revenue Budget 2023-24, Capital Programme and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-24 to 2028-29” of the Strategy and Resources Committee held on 6 February 2023 be adopted.”