To consider a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercial and Capital Assets.
The Finance, Commercial & Capital Strategy Portfolio Holder presented the Budget strategy and medium-term financial plan (MTFP). A copy of his speech is attached as an appendix to these minutes.
The Chairman invited the Group Leaders to present their replies to the budget proposals.
Cllrs Ireland, Sutton and Fry presented their budget speeches which are attached as appendices to these minutes.
Members sought re-assurance that borrowing debt would be controlled and discussed the proposed Council Tax increase. Generally, the feeling amongst members was that although they did not want to raise Council Tax, the priority was to maintain services to the communities they represented and safeguard residents.
The Finance, Commercial & Capital Strategy Portfolio Holder was confident that the budget was balanced but still encouraged prudence when committing reserves.
Members were appreciative of the officer work that had gone into producing the budget and the opportunity of attending budget cafes, cross party working and input from the Scrutiny Committees.
Cllr Flower presented his speech as seconder of the budget proposal. Attached as an appendix to the minutes
Proposed by Cllr Suttle, seconded by Cllr Flower.
In accordance with procedure rule 19.6 a recorded vote was taken. Those who voted in favour of the recommendations:-
Cllrs: Adkins, Alford, Andrews, Barrow, Bartlett, Batstone, Beer, Biggs, Brenton, Brooks, Brown, Bryan, Carr-Jones, Christopher, Clayton, R. Cook, Coombs, Dunseith, Ferrari, Flower, Fry, Gibson, Goringe, Gray, Hall, Harrison, Haynes, Heatley, Holloway, Hughes, Jespersen, S Jones, C Jones, Kerby, Kimber, Lacey-Clarke, H Legg, Lugg, Miller, Morgan, O’Leary, Orrell, Parker, Parkes, Parry, Penfold, Pipe, Pothecary, Quale, Rennie, Roberts, Shortell, Somper, Starr, Suttle, Sutton, Tooke, Trite, Wharf, Wheller and Williams.
Those who voted against the recommendations:-
Cllrs: Canning, Ezzard, Hope, Ireland, Legg, Roe and Taylor.
Those who abstained:-
Following a recorded vote, 61 for, 7 against and 1 abstention the recommendations were approved.
(a) That the revenue budget summarised in appendix 1, was agreed
(b) That the increase in general council tax of 1.998% and 0.996% in the
social care precept, providing a band D council tax figure for Dorset
Council of £1,832.67, an overall increase of 2.994%, was agreed.
(c) That no change to the current scheme of Local Council Tax Support as set
out in the report, was agreed.
(d) That the capital strategy set out in Appendix 3 and the capital programme
set out in Appendix 4, was agreed.
(e) That the treasury management strategy as set out in Appendix 5, was
(f) That the assumptions used to develop the budget strategy and medium term financial plan (MTFP) as set out throughout the report and
summarised in Appendix 6, was agreed
(g) That the recommended balances on earmarked reserves and on general
funds, including the minimum level of the general fund, was agreed
(h) That the addition of £4.4m from the settlement into the contingency
budget, until there is clarity around further costs of implementing national
reforms and as a hedge against emerging cost pressures, was agreed
(i) That the responses to the ... view the full minutes text for item 66
To consider a report of the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercial and Capital Assets.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercial & Capital Strategy set out the Budget Strategy and medium-term financial plan report. The Council had a duty to set a balanced revenue budget and to approve the level of council tax.
The Portfolio Holder set out the headlines of the budget including the proposal to set an increase in general council tax of 1.998% and 0.996% in social care precept, providing a band D council tax figure for Dorset Council of £1,832.67; an overall increase of 2.994%. Additional funds of 10.4 million had been awarded to the council from central government. However, he stated that some of this funding had been ring-fenced and any balance not used or ring-fenced should be used as a contingency fund given the current climate and the ongoing pandemic.
The budget proposals had been built around the priorities identified in the Dorset Council Plan and were considered by the Dorset Council Scrutiny Committees on 10 December 2021 and 7 January 2022. The Chairman also stated that all councillors had the opportunity to attend recent budget café meetings so that they could be part of shaping the budget for the forthcoming year.
The following comments and questions were made by non-executive councillors:
· 3% was the maximum that council tax could be increased without a referendum. We have one of the highest council tax rates in the country and this was likely to continue to be so.
· Concern expressed about future fuel cost increases to residents
· Capital Programme – there is a need to continue to keep the Council’s capital programme under review in terms of its affordability and alignment with the Council’s priorities.
In response, the Chairman advised that following the scrutiny meeting he had agreed that a fundamental review of the capital programme would be carried out and this would come back to scrutiny at some point.
There were no additional questions from Cabinet. The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercial & Capital Strategy read out his 10 recommendations to full council in respect of the budget strategy.
Cabinet confirmed that their “minded to” view was to support the recommendation.
Recommendation to Full Council from the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Commercial and Capital Strategy.
(a) That the revenue budget summarised in appendix 1, be agreed
(b) That the increase in general council tax of 1.998% and 0.996% in the social care precept, providing a band D council tax figure for Dorset Council of £1,832.67, an overall increase of 2.994%, be agreed.
(c) That no change to the current scheme of Local Council Tax Support as set out in the report, be agreed.
(d) That the capital strategy set out in Appendix 3 and the capital programme set out in Appendix 4, be agreed.
(e) That the treasury management strategy as set out in Appendix 5, be agreed
(f) That the assumptions used to develop the budget strategy and medium-term financial plan (MTFP) as set out throughout the report and summarised in Appendix 6, be agreed
(g) That the recommended balances on ... view the full minutes text for item 45
The scrutiny committee is asked to consider the budget proposals on behalf of the residents of Dorset, and to provide constructive challenge to decision-makers before a final decision is made.
The committee was invited to consider the budget proposals for 2022/23 prior to consideration at Cabinet on 18 January 2022 and Full Council on 15 February 2022. The report gave a summary of progress to date on the budget strategy and process and provided the opportunity for the scrutiny committees to review further, budget assumptions and actions being proposed to deliver a balanced and sustainable budget for 2022/23. In addition, following the receipt by the council of the provisional local government finance settlement for 2022/23 on 16 December 2021, a supplement to the report had been published, which provided an update on various issues.
The Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee had the opportunity to consider the implications of the proposals on behalf of residents of Dorset and to provide constructive challenge to decision makers before a final decision was made. It was noted that the comments made by the committee would be reported to Cabinet on 18 January 2022 and taken into consideration as part of the budget setting process.
The Executive Director of Place and Executive Director of Corporate Development and relevant portfolio holders provided a short introduction to their budget areas and in addition, the Corporate Director for Finance and Commercial provided an overview of Central Finance and Capital issues. Following this, councillors discussed the issues arising.
Further to the discussion held, the Senior Democratic Services Officer and the Chairman provided a summary of the key points raised during the discussion in relation to each area covered by the committee and noted that the points below would be submitted to Cabinet as part of the budget setting process:
· Fees and Charges – a regular financial report should be presented to the appropriate committee with regard to the monitoring of Dorset Council fees and charges
· Fees and Charges – the Council should further explore and take into account inflation and market rates when setting increases to fees and charges for Council services
· There may be a need for additional resource to progress work around the Dorset Council Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy and Action Plan. This is linked to the point noted above related to opportunities for securing additional budget from raising fees and charges
· Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Transport Savings – potential risk for the budget is identified in this area. It is noted that further work is to be undertaken and future reporting to councillors will be undertaken through the Council’s transformation project
· Car Parking – the committee wish to flag to Cabinet the potential risk that the new car parking regime (phases 1 and 2) may not generate sufficient income for the Council’s highways management requirements. This needs to be kept under review.
At this point in the meeting, the committee had a five-minute adjournment and returned at 12.51pm. The Chairman held a roll-call of committee members – those present: Councillors S Bartlett, A Canning, J Andrews, M Roberts, D Tooke and B Trite.
It was proposed by J Andrews seconded by M ... view the full minutes text for item 57
The scrutiny committees are asked to consider the budget proposals on behalf of the residents of Dorset, and to provide constructive challenge to decision-makers before a final decision is made.