To consider a report by the Director (NE) (reference 16/27) attached.
The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 16/27) which outlined the Council’s draft revenue and capital budget 2016/17 for public consultation. Members were advised that the outcome of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2016/17 was a cut in grant funding of 15.3% (£1.093m). In order to set a balanced budget in 2016/17 there was a requirement to identify £2.046m in savings or additional income. The draft budget proposed a draw of £270k from General Fund balances and the savings currently identified for inclusion in the budget (as per Appendix A3) totalling £1.608m. This meant that savings of £169k still needed to be identified before the budget could be approved. A further £2.4m of savings were required for 2017/18, £1.6m in 18/19 and £1.6m in 19/20 as part of a provisional four year funding plan. The Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mallory commended the hard work that had gone into the draft budget, and urged all Members to attend the forthcoming briefing sessions, and to get involved in the work of meeting the Council’s financial challenges for 2016/17 and the years ahead. Further aspects of the draft budget were then highlighted, including: requesting authority to approve the NNDR1 Return which the Director asked to do in consultation with the Portfolio Holder; the proposed Council Tax increase of 1.99%; £658k of investment in priority areas; the creation of a £589k Investment Fund in 2016/17 to help the Council delivers its savings targets and provide a resource to drive forward the delivery of future savings; several invest to save proposals; and £1.5m investment in plant, equipment and IT as part of the capital programme for 2016/17. Councillor Cluer then addressed the meeting querying why the environmental implications of the draft budget had not been recognised in the report, for example, the proposed reduction in staff support for recycling and the Wetland Project. The Director, Mr Edwards noted Councillor Cluer’s comments, and added that he had arranged to meet with Councillor Cluer to discuss the draft proposals.
RESOLVED that Cabinet:
i. approves the Council Tax Base for 2016/17 as 36,935.95 Band D equivalent properties;
ii. approves that a surplus of £1.580 million be declared on the Council Tax Collection Fund. This surplus will be distributed in proportion to the share of Council Tax attributable to each precepting authority and the Borough Council's share of the surplus will equate to a one-off sum of £210,206;
iii. approves that authority to approve the NNDR1 Return be delegated to the Director (Nick Edwards) in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement and Legal;
iv. endorses the draft budget proposals set out in the appendices to this report prior to them being re-presented to Cabinet and Full Council for approval in February; with particular attention being given to the proposed 1.99% increase in Council Tax, which is the first increase applied by this Council since 2010, and the savings proposals listed at Appendix A3. If the Council Tax increase or any savings proposals listed are deemed by Members to be unacceptable alternative savings of an equivalent value must be identified;
v. notes the outcome and details of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2016/17 and the indicative figures for the following three years to 2019/20; along with the resulting funding gaps of £2.047m in 16/17, £2.4million in 17/18, £1.6million in 18/19 and £1.6million in 19/20;
vi. notes that the savings identified to date for 2016/17 total £1.608 million and the budget proposes a £270k draw from General Fund balances therefore savings of £169k still need to be identified in order to set a balanced budget;
vii. recommends that Council delegate the authority to approve funding from the 2016/17 ‘Investment Fund’ to the Director’s Team in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement and Legal;
viii. subject to the approval of recommendation (iv) agrees that officers enter into a period of consultation on the proposals contained within this report;
ix. recommends that Council approves the following Council Tax discount and premiums for the 2016/17 year, which remain unchanged from those approved for 2015/16:
- 0% Council Tax discount on Class B second homes
- 10% Council Tax discount on Class A second homes
- 0% Council Tax discount on properties undergoing major repair or structural alteration
- 100% discount for (Class C) properties which are empty and unfurnished for the first 28 days a property becomes empty, followed by a 0% discount thereafter
- 50% Council Tax premium for properties which have been empty and unfurnished for more than 2 years
All preceptors use the Council Tax Base figure as the denominator for calculating their Council Tax. It is a statutory requirement for the Council to notify the major Precepting Authorities of the approved Tax Base and any surplus or deficit on the Collection Fund by the 31 January of each year.
It is a statutory requirement to submit the NNDR1 form to the Department for Communities and Local Government and notify North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service of their respective shares by the 31 January of each year.
Full Council must approve the 2016/17 budget, and associated Council Tax level at its meeting on 26 February 2016. It is important that the Council consults with the public on its budget prior to it being approved, and that the areas identified in the consultation process are taken into consideration in the budget setting process.