Harwich Town Council

The Guildhall,
Church Street,
Harwich. CO12 3DS

t: 01255 507211
e: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk
Hours: 9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Finance Minutes 4th December 2013

MINUTES of the Meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee
held at
The Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich
on Wednesday 4th December 2013 at 7pm

 resent: Councillors Brown, Calver, Fowler, I Henderson (from 7.45pm),J Henderson, Morrison, Thompson and Todd
In the Chair: Councillor Day
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: 0 members of the public and 0 members of the press

Public Question Time:
None

F76/13 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr McLeod
F77/13 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
None
F78/13 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Finance & General Purposes meeting held on Wednesday 2nd October 2013 (previously circulated) be approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the confidential minutes of the Finance & General Purposes meeting held on Wednesday 2nd October 2013 (previously circulated) be approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
F79/13 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES

  • The Clerk informed members that the third quote for the redecoration of the ceiling in the Guildhall flat had not been received and it was recommended to defer discussion until 26 is discussed.
  • The Clerk confirmed that orders had been placed for a supply of grit bins and salt for the Hill School site as per Min F67/13.
F80/13 HARWICH & DISTRICT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Members considered the information received by the HDCA in relation to their grant funding application, including additional comparable quotes and confirmation of their VAT status and lease arrangements.
RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND: To rescind the condition to await lease to be in place before granting funds.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To grant funds upon production of invoices only.
F81/13 FLOOD SIREN WORKING PARTY
Cllr Day reported that no progress had been made due to not being in a position to arrange a meeting with Trinity House as yet but this will be moved forward quickly.
F82/13 PUTTING GREEN LICENCE
Cllrs Day and Fowler briefed members on the new proposed licence between HTC and TDC for the Putting Green in Dovercourt and members considered the recommendations put forward by the Environment & Communities Committee.
RESOLVED: To proceed with signing the licence in the immediate term with a view to making a proposal for future enhancements to the area and seeking to enter into a longer term lease.
F83/13 TRAINING
RESOLVED: To approve expenditure, from the Training budget, for attendance at the Greens, Commons and Open Spaces course.
F84/13 RESERVE MACEBEARER
The Clerk informed members that there was an occasion whereby HTC may have been without a macebearer and given the recent retirement of the caretaker, who acts as ‘stand-in’, it would be appropriate to consider a reserve.
RESOLVED: To approach HTC Macebearer to recommend appropriate person(s) who HTC can approach.
F85/13 TOWN TOURISM WORKING PARTY
Cllr Day informed members that Planning consent was required to erect a map onto the Original Factory Outlet shop in the High Street.
RESOLVED: To proceed with submitting an application for Planning consent with associated cost, est. £55, to be paid from Economic Development budget.
F86/13 REPLACEMENT OFFICE PCS
The clerk informed members that the PCs were installed some 6 years ago and the Asst. Clerk’s PC, in particular was showing signs of power problems. Cllr Fowler confirmed they were outdated and required replacing.RESOLVED: To proceed with replacing Clerk’s and Asst. Clerk’s PCs in the 2013/14 financial year and the Archivists PC in the 2014/15 financial year.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To provide a copy of HTC accounts software to IT company for the purposes of checking compatibility with new operating system, upon receipt of a signed non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement.
F87/13 DEPUTY MAYOR’S CIVIC ROBE
The Clerk informed members that the robe was in need of repair and provided an estimate of the likely cost for both repair and cleaning of the robe.
RESOLVED: To arrange for the necessary repairs and cleaning of the robe, and to replace fur with fake fur in line with usual protocol.
F88/13 DAMAGED FENCE AT HILL SCHOOL
The clerk reported that the boundary fence between the land owned by HTC and that previously owned by the MoJ had been damaged and attempts by the former caretaker to repair it had not been successful.
RESOLVED: To proceed with arranging repairs in accordance with Financial Regulations.
F89/13 LIAISON WITH HILL SCHOOL TENANTS
Members considered Cllr Fowler’s offer to act as a temporary liaison between the Clerk and the Hill School site tenants until measures were taken to address this on a permanent basis.
RESOLVED: To accept Cllr Fowler’s offer to act as temporary liaison.
F90/13 SPARKS WILL FLY BEAD
Members gave consideration to the request by TDC to suggest an appropriate home for the bead.
RESOLVED: To proceed with making suggestions to TDC for places to rehome the bead.
F91/13 FLAGPOLE
Members discussed the options for re-roping the flagpole.
RESOLVED: To discuss this in conjunction with the condition study and associated recommendations.
F92/13 GUILDHALL CONDITION STUDY
Members discussed the report and Action Plan provided by the surveyor.
RESOLVED: To receive the report and endorse it to move forward on auctioning the recommendations.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To allocate £5k, from the ‘Disabled Access’ Earmarked Funds, for costs incurred in addressing the points raised in the report and Action Plan.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To instruct Jonathan Reubin (Chartered Surveyor) to continue acting on behalf of HTC, as an extension to the existing arrangement the Council has for his professional/specialised services.
F93/13 DISABLED ACCESS
Item was not discussed independently under Standing Order 5a viii as it formed part of the discussions in the previous item.
F94/13 CHRISTMAS CLOSURE
The dates for closing the Council offices during the Christmas period were discussed.
RESOLVED: Approved dates of closure
F95/13 CO-OP ACCOUNTS
The Clerk informed members that the two small deposit accounts held by HTC were not making significant returns to warrant keeping them separate to the main council accounts and suggested transferring the funds and closing the accounts with the view of investigating a better interest rate.
RESOLVED: To close the accounts and transfer fund to main account.
F96/13 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
The Clerk reported new and updated policies/procedures to be adopted by the Council.
RESOLVED: To adopt policies/procedures.
F97/13 FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
The Clerk reported on the practical limitations and delays in instructing minor works due to the low amounts by which estimates/quotations should be sought, and suggested increasing the amounts.
RESOLVED: Agreed to amend regulation 10.8 of the Financial Regulations to read ‘Where the value is below £2500 and above £1000 the Clerk shall strive to obtain 3 estimates.’
F98/13 BUDGET/PRECEPT 2014/15
The Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer informed members that whilst estimates had been calculated there was still some outstanding information to be received from TDC which assists in informing the budgets.
RESOLVED: To defer recommending grant until all information from TDC is received and call a Special meeting.
F99/13 MATTERS TO BE REPORTED

  • The Clerk reported the necessity to purchase a desk lamp at £16.99, by reasons of Health & Safety, following the blown bulb in the office and whilst awaiting its replacement.
  • The Clerk reported that the hot water cylinder in the kitchen had developed a fault and is not providing as much hot water as previously.   The electrician has recommended this be attended to in the medium term.
F100/13 MATTERS RECEIVED IN THE POST OF INFORMATION RAISED BY MEMBERS

  • Members noted a letter of complaint from a representative of the Dovercourt Theatre Group regarding the condition of the footpath on the Hill School site.
    RESOLVED: To make this the subject of further consideration under item 28.
  • Members noted a letter of thanks for grant from the Pharos Trust.
F101/13 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The date of the next meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee will be held on Wednesday 5th February 2014 at 7pm at the Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich
F102/13 EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
Pursuant to Sub-Section 2 of Section 1 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the meeting is closed to the press and public for the transaction of the under-mentioned business:

  • To consider recommendations of the Staffing Review Working Party
  • To consider quotation for landscaping works at the Hill School site
  • To consider quotations for works at the Hill School site

The Chairman closed the public part of the meeting at 8.30pm