Venue: Gallery Room, The Corn Exchange, Witney. View directions
Apologies for Absence
To consider apologies and reasons for absence.
Committee Members who are unable to attend the meeting should notify the Democratic Services Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to the meeting, stating the reason for absence.
Apologies for their absence were received from Cllrs Eaglestone and King.
Declarations of Interest
Members are reminded to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests in any of the items under consideration at this meeting in accordance with the Town Council’s code of conduct.
There were no declarations of interest to in matters to be discussed at the meeting.
The meeting will adjourn for this item.
Members of the public may speak for a maximum of five minutes each during the period of public participation, in line with Standing Order 42. Matters raised shall relate to the following items on the agenda.
There were no members of the public present for this item.
To receive and consider the report of the Town Clerk/RFO along with the draft revised revenue budget for 2019/20 and the estimates for 2020/21 – To Follow
The budget has been based on current service delivery and known factors – Members are requested to give consideration to any changes they foresee during the next financial year on the way the Council’s services are delivered and facilities are run, mindful of the impact on the Precept and other resources such as staffing.
The Town Clerk gave a presentation to Council on possible options for the budget and the implications of each of these. This included a table demonstrating the effect on a Band D property’s council tax. The presentation is attached to these minutes.
The options were to not increase the precept, meaning that everything would need to be paid for out of reserves, which was not advised, and three further options to use part of the reserves and varying increases to the precept.
The Chair clarified that the revenue budget was that paying for services to continue, which was in effect committed expenditure. The capital expenditure was for “one of” items and as such the projects could be timed. The Town Clerk commented that projects could be prioritised.
Members asked questions about the revised revenue budget and engaged in an in-depth discussion.
Cllr Temple left the meeting at 7.31pm.
RESOLVED: that the presentation (as attached) and reports from the Town Clerk be noted.
To receive and consider the report of the Town Clerk/RFO along with a schedule detailing the position with regard to the current years Capital & Special Revenue Projects and those proposed for 2020/21 and beyond - To Follow
Members will be requested to prioritise the proposed projects, mindful of the impact on the Precept and other resources such as staffing.
The Council received and considered reports from the Town Clerk, including a schedule of the Capital/Special Revenue Projects Programme 2020/21, as attached.
Members noted that these were items that the public had asked for and that had been agreed through the Committee system.
In order to pay for them and not use up all of the Council’s reserves, members understood that the precept would need to be increased.
A lengthy debate followed, during which some members expressed a preference to keep the precept at a low level, whilst others argued that this low level of investment had led to facilities in the town declining and in need of major investment now. Councillors agreed that it would not be prudent to lean to heavily on the Council’s reserves, but had reservations about increasing the precept to 14% to fully fund revenue and capital expenditure.
RESOLVED: that the reports and presentation (as attached) from the Town Clerk be noted.
To Formally Declare the Precept for 2020/21
To receive and consider the report of the Town
Clerk/RFO - To Follow
The Mayor asked members if, having heard the presentation from the Town Clerk, considered her reports and engaged in debate, they were ready to decide on the level of precept for 2020/21. Members voted on this with 8 in favour of this and 5 against. The Mayor did not vote.
A member proposed setting the increase to the precept at 10%. Members voted on this with 10 members voting in favour, 3 members voting against and 1 member abstaining.
Cllr Collins left the meeting at 8.45pm.
It was therefore agreed that the precept should be increased by 10% for 2020/21, and that the Town Clerk should sign and serve the precept on the West Oxfordshire District Council of £1, 628, 699 in respect of Council Tax for the town.
RESOLVED: that the Town Clerk be authorised to sign and serve a precept on the West Oxfordshire District Council, in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), requiring the District Council to pay the Town Council the sum of £1, 628, 699 in respect of Council Tax for the town during the financial year 2020/21.