(1) That the Finance and Services Scrutiny Committee be thanked for its input to the budget setting process.
(2) That Council be recommended to:-
(1) Approve the budget for 2019/2020 and the Medium Term Financial Plan as set out in summary form in the Appendix attached to the Cabinet report.
(2) Approve an increase in Council Tax of £5 (3.35%) for 2019/2020, the maximum allowable for lower tier councils.
(3) Approve the use of £1.48m of New Homes Bonus to meet the costs of the Connected Knowledge Programme in 2019/2020.
(4) Approve the proposed fees and charges as set in Appendix E to the Cabinet report.
(5) Approve the level of Band D Special Expenses charge for 2019/2020 as set out in Appendix F to the Cabinet report.
(b) Reason(s) for Decision(s)
The Council is statutorily required to set a budget for 2019/2020 and plan for expenditure in subsequent years based upon the Medium Term Financial Plan. The Budget proposals reflect the transition to a new unitary authority.
(c) Alternative Options Considered
The development of the budget proposals has involved a number of key elements of choice as set out in previous reports to Cabinet.
(d) Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Finance and Services. The Committee Chairman attended Cabinet to elaborate upon his Committee’s deliberations. Cabinet accepted all the comments of the Scrutiny Committee and in particular:-
· It was confirmed that the business cases of all of the projects that formed part of the Connected Knowledge Programme were analysed carefully by a programme management board and were and would continue to be assessed having regard to the likely requirements of the new unitary authority. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources would be invited to attend meetings of the programme management board.
· It was agreed that the sum of £10,759 should be re-instated in the budget for funding to a number of voluntary and community sector organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau and that in order to give those organisations some certainty whilst the new council was being established, this funding should be for a two year period.
The budget proposals will now be subject to consideration by full Council and are not therefore subject to call-in.
(e) Conflicts of Interest / Dispensation(s)
As a member of an organisation that contributed financially towards the work of the CAB, Councillor Mordue declared a personal interest in this item insofar as it affected the future funding arrangements for this organisation.