MINUTES of the Meeting of the Finance + General Purposes Committee held at 8.00pm on Thursday 8 November 2018 in the Village Centre, Trinity Road, Hurstpierpoint.
Committee Members Present
|Rodney Jackson (Chairman) Stephen Hand John Lowman||Tony Lank Malcolm Llewellyn Martin Machan|
Stephen Hoyles CLERK TO THE COUNCIL
Paul Mayne – Assistant Clerk
F18/044. Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest: The following apologies were received prior to the meeting and accepted: Amanda Geel, Julia Shorrocks. There were no declarations of interest.
F18/045. Minutes of the meetings of Finance + General Purposes Committee of 11 October 2018: A correction was agreed: Minute F18/41.1: should read ‘Hassocks Road’ not ‘St Georges Lane’. The Minutes were then received and accepted and signed by the Chairman.
F18/046. Matters arising from Minutes of the Finance + General Purposes Committee of 11 October
2018: There were no matters not otherwise covered on this agenda.
F18/047. Adjournment for questions from the public: There being no members of the public present the Committee was not required to adjourn the Meeting in accordance with Clause 19d) of Standing Orders.
F18/048. FINANCIAL MATTERS:
F18/048.1 Payments and receipts: The Committee approved payments £134,102.59 (comprising £48,681.25 as on the payments schedule, plus £35,000.00 transferred to Cambridge + Counties deposit account 15102689, plus £43,801.37 paid to SSE as previously noted by Committee 10 May 2018) for month 8 (November 2018) and the total receipts of
£12,845.94 for Month 7 (October 2018) (Ref: Schedule 1 )
RESOLVED: The Committee approves the schedule of payments of £134,102.59 for November 2018.
F18/048.2 Financial monitoring: The Committee noted the Accounts Records for Month 7 (October 2018), in accordance with the Financial Regulations of the Council, as follows:
(1) Bank reconciliation and Trial Balance
F18/048.3. Deposits and Investment: The Committee noted that the Council was holding the following funds on the dates shown:
|10||10/05/2018||50,000.00||Cambridge + Counties||15011214||Deposit|
|11||31/10/2018||0.00||Cambridge + Counties||15012689||Deposit|
F18/048.4 Parking discs: Following a request from the proprietor of Columbines, High Street, the Committee agreed to grant 50 MSDC parking discs to the Hurst Traders group, to place in ‘welcome bags’ for new residents to the Parish.
F18/049. CONTRACTS: The Committee noted the following contracts with a cost over £500 + VAT:
F18/049.1 Street lighting Replacement Scheme: Work has continued on site. The matter of the Council’s claim was negotiated at a meeting with the contractor on 11 October 2018 and a settlement was agreed of £4,500 + VAT. Two lights on Hassocks Road (by the St Georges Lane junction) had now been temporarily fixed but the contractor had advised that a new replacement ‘gear tray’ was needed in each case, but was not in stock. Due to the long wait time, the contractor had agreed to install a temporary fix. A question was raised about the reason for the failure, and noted that a tree branch was currently partly blocking the light. The Parish Office had asked the contractor to propose a schedule of spares that might be kept, to avoid a repeat of the long wait in future. (Budget code 6009) (REF: HP&SCPC ltr SSE 7 June 2018)
F18/049.2 Village Gateways: Further to the decision of Council (Minute C18/037, meeting 26 July 2018) two earlier quotations had been received for the installation only of the gateways (the materials having been manufactured and are available for installation) at prices that were considered too high. A further quotation had then been requested and received from a fencing contractor, and it was recommended that BH Garden Services be awarded the work at a cost of £4,430.00 (no VAT applicable).
RESOLVED: The installation of the 7 gateways is awarded to BH Garden Services at a cost of £4,430.00 (no VAT applicable).
F18/049.3 St Georges Green steps: The Committee was asked to approve expenditure of £1050 + VAT for the repairs to the existing steps. (Budget code 2201) (REF: Stablehouse Construction Ltd quotation 27 October 2018 – St Georges Green steps)
RESOLVED: Stablehouse Construction Ltd is awarded the repairs to St Georges Green steps at a cost of £1050 + VAT.
F18/049.4 Cemetery access road repairs: The Committee was asked to approve expenditure of £1650 + VAT for the repairs to the large pothole in Cemetery access road. Three quotations have been received for this work and it is recommended that the lowest is accepted. (Budget code 2101) (REF: Sussex Surfacing quotation 7 August 2018 ) RESOLVED: Sussex Surfacing is awarded the repairs to the Cemetery access road at a cost of £1650 + VAT.
F18/049.5 Cemetery Wall repairs: Further to Minute F18/035 (Committee meeting 6 September 2018) The Committee was asked to approve expenditure of £17,500 + VAT for the repairs to the Cemetery wall. As previously reported, the wall comprised an undamaged section, a ‘leaning’ section, and a collapsed section. The objective was to undertake a reasonable repair, sensitive in design, requiring minimum maintenance, and acceptable to the adjoining landowner. The Committee had previously agreed that a comprehensive rebuild would be an unacceptable demand on public funds, costing between £40,000 and £70,000, and would be potentially disruptive to the adjacent graves. A less costly and less disruptive solution was required.
The current proposal was to build about 6 or 7 concrete buttresses at intervals along the undamaged and leaning wall. The buttresses would be on the adjoining landowner side, occupying space owned by a Mr Shepherd. Approximately 20m of the collapsed wall would be replaced by timber close-boarded fence. The neighbour had agreed to this proposal, but it would in due course require a legal agreement (a licence) to formally permit the use of the space. The matter of risk of future failure was considered by the Committee. The length between buttresses would be typically 5m to 7m apart and the likelihood of a failure of less than this length was judged to be small. The wall immediately around the buttress would not fail. If a short section were to fail and fall into the adjoining land, then the consequences would be small. The land was heavily vegetated by shrubs and trees, generally wild growing, and there was no adjacent footway. In any event, the wall should in future be routinely (say annually) monitored for signs of cracking and movement, so giving some notice of failure.
Three quotations had been received for this work and it was recommended that the lowest is accepted. (Budget code
2101) (REF: BRIEFING NOTE Cemetery Wall 30 August 2018; Stablehouse Construction Ltd quotation 27 October 2018 Cemetery Wall )
RESOLVED: Stablehouse Construction Ltd is awarded the repairs to the Cemetery wall at a cost of £17,500 + VAT.
F18/049.6 Office computer and back-up: Following the recent appointment of a Facilities Manager, there was a requirement for an additional computer workstation. The Committee was asked to approve the purchase of a Dell BD347008 and monitor, to match the existing workstations set-up. In addition, following the findings of a recent internal audit report, the office digital systems now had improved back-up. The back-up comprised a weekly ‘black-box’ transfer of data, which was kept off-site, plus a continuous cloud storage process with Microsoft OneDrive. However, it was proposed that a third system was also installed comprising second server, which would provide continuous data replication, with the second server located off-site at the Clerk’s home. The Committee was asked to approve the purchase of the second server. (REF: DELL Products quote 103752518 1 November 2018; Amazon quote 1 Nov 2018 Synology DS216se 2TB.) (Code 1111)
RESOLVED: The Committee approves the purchase of:
- (1) Dell BD347008 and monitor at a cost of 649.00 + VAT
- (2) Synology DS216se 2TB server at a cost of £261.00 +VAT
F18/049.76 Insurance claim: Further to Minute F18/041 (Committee meeting 11 October 2018) The Committee was advised that the claim has been rejected. The Council was therefore required to carry the cost of replacing the keys to the office and Village Centre, being about £600 +VAT. (REF: Zurich Insurance email 23 October 2018. )
F18/049.8 Trees and risk assessment: The Committee noted that a recent court case had resulted in a judgement against a Parish Council which had been relying on routine 3-yearly tree surveys. A failure had taken and LCAS now advised that a tree management strategy and framework needed to be established and implemented. The approach cannot be blanket, in terms of timetables, and inspection frequencies would need to be flexed to reflect risk. Councils should seek the advice and support of suitably qualified arboricultural experts. The Parish Office would now assess, as part of its risk management, which areas and trees should be subject to more frequent inspection. (REF: LCAS Risk Topic update Tree liabilities – October 2018)
F18/049.9 Council Tax in West Sussex: The Committee noted the study undertaken by SSALC for town and parish councils in West Sussex, and how they might be affected by the ‘referendum principle’ whereby a local referendum might be required to confirm a rise in precept above say 2%. Apart from the title subject, the information contained provided a helpful analysis on comparative levels of precept across the County. (REF: How local authorities in West Sussex could be affected by Council Tax referendum principles – Any Beams, October 2018 )
F18/049.10 Review of charges: In accordance with the Financial Regulations approved by Council (para 9.3) the Council was required to annually review its charges for services. Apart from the previously agreed increase in allotments rents, it is not proposed to make any additional changes. (REF: Review of Charges schedule 30 October 2018)
RECOMMENDATION to COUNCIL: The Review of charges schedule effective 30 November 2018 is approved.
F18/050.1 Action List 2018/19: The Committee noted the Action List for the Council Year 2018/19. (Ref: ACTION LIST 2018/19 rev30 30 October 2018 )
F18/050.2 Seat – Marchants Road: The Committee was asked to consider a request from Hurstpierpoint Society for an additional seat to be placed in the grass verge at the Marchants Road/Trinity Road junction. They have offered to cover the cost of £800 + VAT and requested that a memorial plaque is included. The Committee noted that existing seats were placed at the Health Centre and on the corner of Trinity Road/Cuckfield Road and that a licence would have to be obtained from WSCC Highways. (REF: Hurst Society email 31 October 2018)
RESOLVED: The Hurstpierpoint Society offer of an additional seat at Marchants Road is accepted.
F18/051. OPERATIONS: The Committee noted (exception reports only):
F18/051.1 Street lighting: (No report)
F18/051.2 Toilets: (No report) F18/051.3 Trees: (No report) F18/051.4 Cemetery:
F18/051.5 Recreation Grounds:
F18/051.6 Waste bins:
F18/051.7 Buildings: (No report)
F18/051.8 Allotments: (No report)
F18/051.9 Village Centre: (No report)
F18/051.10 Village Garden: (No report)
F18/051.11 Highways: (No report)
F18/051.12 Public enquiries: The Committee is 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 8.41 pm