Minutes of the Finance Committee held remotely via Zoom on Monday 30th November at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr Roberts (Chair), Cllr Blandford, Cllr Rose, Cllr Johnson, Cllr McQuarrie, Cllr Coxon and Cllr Illingworth
Also present: Claudine Feltham (Clerk and RFO), Beccy Macklen (Clerk). No members of the public were present.
- Apologies for absence
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Moss.
2. Declarations of members’ interests in respect of items on this agenda.
Cllr Illingworth declared a personal interest in respect of any grants made to the Church.
3. Review and approval of the Minutes of the finance committee meeting held on 6th November 2019.
The minutes of the Finance Committee meeting held on 6th November 2020 were approved as a true record.
4. Review of Year End accounts for year ending 31st March 2020
No questions were raised, the year-end accounts were as anticipated.
5. Audit for the year ending 31st March 2020
5.1 Review of Internal Audit report for year ending 31st March 2020
The internal audit report was circulated when received in June 2020, and again prior to this finance committee meeting. The internal auditors’ comments were noted.
Cllr Roberts advised that any future ear marked reserves (EMR) receipts and payments should be tabled alongside the usual accounts at the monthly parish council meeting.
5.2 External Audit, PKF Littlejohn – to note that conclusion of the year end audit has not yet been received: Noted
6. Review of current financial years expenditure v budget (Finance report to 30th October 2020 and spreadsheet from the RFO).
Cllr Roberts advised that the current expenditure was largely as planned and on target for this point of the financial year (with the exception of the car park extension costs).
Expenditure for the renewal of the High Hurstwood play area, village gateways and a possible new RFO laptop were expected.
The parish council had benefited from unexpected income in the form of CIL funds and a grant from WDC. With the likely additional housing coming to the parish further CIL funds could be anticipated in due course.
Cllr Illingworth enquired about the longer financial forecast for the parish council. He was advised that whilst the general expenditure was on track that any expenditure on the Reading Room refurbishment could come from the current EMR named Repairs and Renewals £26,500 as well as a proposed transfer of £24,000 from general reserves into this EMR, bringing the total to £50,500.
It was highlighted that presently the parish council did not know the extent of costs required for the Reading Room refurbishment and that the figure of £50,500 was a starting point for allocating funds, and not an approval of their expenditure, nor a maximum figure of expenditure. The remit of work required, and the subsequent quotes would be considered as per the parish council financial regulations in due course.
Cllr Rose commented that the roof of the Reading Room was in a poor condition and repair work would be required.
Cllr Rose proposed for the transfer of £24,000 from general reserves to Repairs and Renewals, this was seconded by Cllr Coxon, and unanimously agreed by the finance committee.
Action: Clerk to add agenda item to the full council agenda for approval of the transfer of £24,000 from general reserves to EMR Repairs and Renewals.
7. Review of current available funds and ear marked reserves (Finance report to 30th October 2020 from the RFO)
Cllr Roberts advised committee members of the current EMRs which were in a strong position for the projected expenditure.
|Play areas (renewals)||£14,850|
|Play areas (maintenance)||£5,420|
|Computer and office equipment||£2,500|
|Legal and valuation fees||£5,000|
|Parish hall development||£9,496|
|Repairs and renewals (Reading Room)||£26,500|
|New hall funds||£0|
|Play equipment (off site funds)||£51,122.74|
8. Creation of Ear Marked Reserves (EMR) for Reading Room refurbishment.
The finance committee agreed for the current EMR named repairs and renewals should be used for the Reading Room refurbishment.
9. Budget setting for 2021-2022 and precept request for 2021-2022
The finance working party considered the information supplied in the finance report and spreadsheet with Cllr Roberts detailing areas of savings, as well as areas where additional finances would be required in the following financial year.
A discussion ensued on whether the parish council should raise the precept by approximately 4% to cover anticipated expenditure in the following financial year, or given the current climate, with many people suffering financial difficulty, due to COVID19, that the parish council should not increase the precept and set a deficit budget.
It was noted that today WDC had made the decision to not increase council tax in the next financial year.
The parish council currently have a healthy level of reserve funds.
Resolved: the finance committee agreed to recommend to full council not to increase the precept request for 2021-2022. This was proposed by Cllr Roberts, seconded by Cllr Illingworth and reached majority approval from the finance committee. Cllr Rose abstained.
10. Cllr Roberts as an addition to the bank mandate – update from the RFO
The RFO explained that despite being chased for almost a year to set up the Cllr Roberts on the bank mandate, Natwest had admitted that they had mislaid the submitted paperwork and unfortunately the process would need to be re commenced.
11. Any other matters properly notified.
Cllr Roberts – thanked the RFO for her work.
Meeting closed at 2012 hours