MINUTES of the Meeting of the Finance + General Purposes Committee held at 8.00pm on Thursday 8 March 2018 in the Village Centre, Trinity Road, Hurstpierpoint.
Committee Members Present
Rodney Jackson (Chairman) Malcolm Llewellyn John Lowman
Stephen Hoyles CLERK TO THE COUNCIL
F17/077. Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest: The following apologies were received prior to the meeting and accepted: Amanda Geel, Stephen Hand, Martin Machan, Julia Shorrocks. The following personal interest was declared: Rodney Jackson (F17/081.2 Hurst Meadows (Contract 2))
F17/077. Minutes of the meeting of Finance + General Purposes Committee of 8 February 2018: The Minutes were received and accepted and signed by the Chairman.
F17/078. Matters arising from Minutes of the Finance + General Purposes Committee of 8 February 2018:
(1) F17/073.4 Salaries – incremental increases: The Committee was advised that the extension to the national pay award for 2018/19 had not yet been agreed and the implementation of increases would not take place 1 April 2018 as had been previously advised. (Ref: NALC/SLCC advice sheet E02-16 May 2016).
RESOLVED: The NJC/NALC national salary cost of living award is postponed pending further advice. There were no other matters not otherwise on the agenda.
F17/079. Adjournment for questions from the public: There being no members of the public present the Committee was not required to consider whether to adjourn the Meeting in accordance with clause 3(e) of Standing Orders, in order to receive questions.
F17/080. FINANCIAL MATTERS:
F17/080.1 Payments and receipts: The Committee was asked to RESOLVE:
- (1) to approve revised payment of invoices totalling £88,311.03 for month 11 (February 2018). The change being due to the additional direct debit for the photocopier (£311.03), the transfer the Council’s Nationwide deposit account (£33,000.00), and the payment for investment shares in the Council’s CCLA account (£55,000.00).
- (2) to approve payment of invoices totalling £13,414.39 for month 12 (March 2018) and the total receipts of £1,610.00 for Month 11 (February 2018) (Ref: Schedule 1 and 2)
RESOLVED: The Committee approves the schedule of payments of:
- (1) revised schedule of invoices totalling £88,311.03 for month 11 (February 2018).
- (2) schedule of invoices totalling £13,414.39 for month 12 (March 2018).
F17/080.2 Financial monitoring: The Committee noted the Accounts Records for Month 11 (February 2018), in accordance with the Financial Regulations of the Council, as follows: (1) Bank reconciliation and Trial Balance (8 March 2018)
F17/080.3. Deposits and Investment: The Committee noted that the Council was holding the following funds on the dates shown:
It was reported that the Council had now opened a further cash deposit account with Cambridge and Counties Bank as previously authorised by Council (Minute C17/085.3 Meeting 14 December 2017) and that £50,000 would shortly be transferred from the Unity Bank account.
F17/080.5 Financial Regulations – review of Direct Debits and Standing Orders: In accordance with the Council’s Financial Regulations (15 May 2015; 5.6 and 6.7) the Committee was required to review the instructions to the bank for Direct Debits and Standing Orders. (Ref: Schedule of instructions to the bank for Direct Debits and Standing Orders – 1 March 2018 )
RESOLVED: The Schedule of instructions to the bank for Direct Debits and Standing Orders (1 March 2018) is approved.
F17/081. CONTRACTS: The Committee noted the following contracts with a cost over £500 + VAT:
F17/081.1 Street lighting Replacement Scheme: The contract with SSE is continuing. The Pitt Lane column has been installed, and the remaining bracket mounted lights are due to be completed in the second and third week of March. The outstanding matters will then be the repainting of 15 older columns and the placing of ‘labels’ on all columns.
F17/081.2 Hurst Meadows (Contract 2): Work commenced on Contract 2 (Little Park) 5 March 2018. The ground conditions were poor following the recent wet weather, which limited work to the eastern boundary along Latchetts Lane.
F17/081.3 Tree survey: Following good practice the Council undertakes a professional survey of its tree stock every three years. This year there was the addition of the trees in Hurst Meadows (Highfield Drive and Little Park, but not the Iden Hurst woodland or Tilleys Copse). Although the last survey was undertaken in 2016 the opportunity was taken to synchronise the surveys into one. Invitations had been issued to three arboriculturist specialists to undertake the survey and report to the Council and a response was received from one and it was recommended that PJC Consultancy Ltd be appointed. (Ref: Tree Survey tender invitation 20 February 2018; PJC email 6 March 2018)
RESOLVED: PJC Consultancy Ltd is appointed to undertake the tree survey 2018 at a cost of £1,610.00 +VAT.
F17/081.4 Burgess Hill Town Council/WSCC Highway maintenance: The Committee noted that WSCC
would withdrawn their financial support of the BHTC highway maintenance works with effect 1 July 2018. This information had reached the Parish Council via BHTC and no formal notification had yet been received from WSCC. It was understood that the minor highway works would in future defer to the WSCC main contractor. This presented concerns about the frequency and responsiveness of the service, which has been positive with BHTC. A meeting had been held with BHTC on 27 February 2018 to explore options for the future but it was evident that the current arrangements would not continue beyond June 2018. A sum of £3500 had been made in the 2018/19 budget most of which will not be expended. (Ref: NOTES of Meeting BHTC 27 February 2018)
F17/081.5 Cemetery wall repairs – appointment of adviser: Following the previous report (Committee 8 February 2018) the Council’s insurers had advised that they would not support a claim for the repair of the wall. Invitations had been issued to three architects to advise on the rebuilding process and a response had been received from one. 5 March 2018. However, the Committee expressed the view that a suitable surveyor might be more appropriate and it was agreed that further enquiries would be made. (Ref: BRIEFING NOTE Collapsed Wall at South Avenue Cemetery, Hurstpierpoint, Brief for Architect 15 February 2018; Zurich Insurance email 9 March 2018 )
F17/081.6: Elections cost 2019: The Committee noted that MSDC had advised that the cost to the Parish Council of elections in May 2019 would be £5,060, subject to the elections being contested. (MSDC email Cost of Parish Elections 2019 9 February 2018)
F17/081.7: Noticeboard, Willow Way, Hurstpierpoint: The Committee considered and approved the installation of a new noticeboard on WSCC highway verge, at the junction of Willow Way and Cuckfield Road. This had been previously requested by Council (Action Plan 2016-21) and the quoted cost was £1,510.00 + VAT plus an estimated cost of £250.00 for installation. The cost is in the 2017/18 Budget (code 6007) (REF: BRIEFING NOTE: Noticeboard, Northern Hurstpierpoint – 1 March 2018).
RESOLVED: A new noticeboard is installed at Willow Way at a cost of £1,760.00 +VAT.
F17/082.1 Action List 2017/18: The Committee noted the Action List for the Council Year 2017/18. (Ref: ACTION LIST 2017/18 rev26 1 March 2018 )
F17/083. OPERATIONS: (exception reports only) F17/083.1 Street lighting:
F17/083.5 Recreation Grounds:
(1) Millennium Garden Trust Report 2018: The Committee noted the Report. (REF: Millennium Garden Trust Report and letter 15 January 2018)
F17/083.6 Waste bins: The Committee raised the matter of installing larger waste bins in key locations. It was agreed that a request would be issued to MSDC.
- (1) Chantry Stables (Charity Shop): Further to the previous report (Minute F17/076.7 Meeting 8 February 2018) the Committee was advised that discussions had been held with three potential groundworks contractors to dig down and expose the existing drain (cost estimate about £1,000). The drain would then be examined and repaired if necessary. It would then be possible to determine whether the existing soakaway requires replacing (cost estimate about £5,000). It was intended that a suitable contractor will shortly be appointed to carry out the dig.
- (2) Hurstpierpoint Bowls Club:
- a) Carparking: The Club had sought permission to use the open space behind the tennis courts as temporary parking for special events on 5 days in 2018. This permission had been granted subject to the agreement of the Tennis Club. (REF: Hurstpierpoint Bowls Club email 26 February 2018)
- b) Boundary fence: It had come to the attention of the Council that, as part of the current pavilion extension project, the Bowls Club had erected a close-boarded timber fence for a short length along the eastern boundary, replacing a hedge. This was in a Conservation Area, and was also on Parish Council property, but leased to the Club, therefore appropriate permissions should be sought from both the Planning Authority and the Parish Council (as landlord). The matter was pertinent because a resident has objected to the fence. The Club had been advised of the matter and offered to plant shrubs to screen the fence. The Club had been asked to consult the affected neighbours and the Planning Authority and advise the Parish Council of the responses, before retrospective permission was considered. (Ref: Bowling Club email 27 February 2018; HP&SCP email 6 March 2018)
- c) Access ramp: The Bowls Club had been required under building regulations to construct a concrete slab access ramp between the existing footpath and the extended building, which the Committee noted. (Ref: Closewall email and attachment 20 February 2018)
F17/083.8 Allotments: The Committee noted that the recent cold weather had resulted in the water meter splitting and leaking. The matter was with South East Water to repair.
F17/083.9 Village Centre bookings: A meeting was held on 22 February 2018 with a representative of the Village Centre Association, regarding the Council’s management of the booking system. The Parish Office remained concerned about the appropriateness of the software in relation to issuing invoices, and the increasing demand from users in raising queries. The Committee was advised that the Parish Office was changing some procedures to manage the process.
F17/083.10 Village Garden:
a) Winter maintenance: Some snowfall on 27 February 2018 alerted the Winter Maintenance arrangements, but the
Council was instructed by WSCC (emails 27 and 28 February 2018) not to activate the distribution of grit bags. (The
Council has 10 WSCC bags stored at the Ernest Doe Depot in Albourne.) Freezing conditions persisted on 28 and 29 February 2018 and the Parish Office took the decision to activate the winter plan and distribute the eight grit bags. WSCC had advised that this would be at the cost to the Parish Council, and is estimated at about £350.
F17/083.12 Public enquiries: The Committee was advised that the Parish Office maintains a Customer log of all public enquiries and which is available for inspection by Members.
There being no other business the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.25 pm Chairman