Minutes

of the Meeting of the

Strategic Planning and

Economic Development Policy

and Scrutiny Panel

Monday, 26th January 2009

held at the Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

 

Meeting Commenced:  3.30 p.m.   Meeting Concluded:   5.00 p.m.

 

Councillors:

 

P  Clive Webb (Chairman)

A  David Pasley (Vice-Chairman)

 

P  Bob Cook 

P  Jill Iles 

P  Edward Keating 

P  Dr. Mike Kellaway-Marriott 

P  Keith Morris 

P  Tony Moulin 

 

 

P: Present

A: Apologies for absence submitted

 

Officers in attendance:

 

Leo Taylor (Corporate Services Unit), Jo Gadegaard (Corporate Services Unit)

 

SPE

43    

Declarations of Interest by Members

 

None

 

SPE

44    

Minutes of the Meeting held on 9th December 2008 (Agenda Item 4.1)

 

Resolved:  that the minutes of the meeting be approved as a correct record.

SPE

45    

Draft Revenue and Capital Budgets 2009/10 and further update on financial position 2010/11 and 2011/12 (EXE 90) (Agenda Item 5.1) and Reports and matters referred from the Executive – Minute EXE 90 – Draft Revenue and Capital Budgets 2009/10 and further update on financial position 2010/11 and 2011/12 (COU 127) (Agenda item 5.2)

 

The Panel received references from the Executive and Council regarding the budget proposals for 2009/10.

 

Members were disappointed to note that there were no representatives of the Director of Development and Environment present at the meeting.  They felt that officers’ advice and guidance would have facilitated their deliberations and requested that steps be taken to ensure their presence at future budget meetings.  Members also noted that, in the past, Directors had presented proposed departmental budget proposals to Scrutiny Panels prior their approval by the Executive thereby giving Members more opportunity to consider and provide input to proposals.

 

In discussing the Budget, it was agreed that Members consider the amendments proposed by Councillor Leimdorfer, at the meeting of the Council on 6th January 2009, suggesting additions to the Capital Programme relating to investment in an energy efficiency programme at Council property and grant incentives for residents to encourage insulation.  A copy of the paper tabled at the meeting and setting out these proposals has been placed on the signed minute book.

 

Members were broadly supportive of the principles underlying the proposals, agreeing that it was important that the Council invest in delivering climate change policies. However, they felt that significantly more work would be needed to accurately estimate and evidence the proposals’ costs and benefits and to avoid possible duplication with initiatives either being undertaken or planned by the Council and the Government.

 

Members also suggested that there were other areas of the Council’s work that could be included in such work such as investigating possible energy efficiency savings in respect of:

 

(1)    Council vehicle fleet (with a view to investigating alternative recycled fuel schemes such that being undertaken by Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council)

(2)    schools maintenance; and

(3)    Street lighting

 

Whilst they did not consider it appropriate to endorse the proposals in this budget round, Members:-

 

Concluded:  that a Council Energy Efficiency topic be added to the Panel’s work plan and that proposals be developed with a view to making recommendations to the Executive in the 2010 – 2011 budget round.

 

Following discussions of the Revenue Budget, it was:-

 

Recommended to the Executive that consideration be given to the following:

 

(1)    ensuring that new contracts are negotiated in such a way that financial risks to the Council arising from a stagnating economy, such as hyperinflation and fluctuating commodity prices, are minimised more effectively; and

 

(2)    offsetting departmental overspend where possible by further developing income generation and efficiency opportunities in the Libraries and Leisure Service.  Suggestions included retail concessions at Leisure Centres and investing in new technology and staffing arrangements at Libraries and Heath Centres.

                                                                                    ________________________________

                                                                                                                Chairman

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