Issue - meetings
2018/19 Revenue Budget Monitoring Report (Month 5)
That the Revenue Budget Monitoring report for Month 5 be noted and that the following issues be brought to the Cabinet’s attention as areas for concern:
- Shortfall in car park income;
- The impact of those charges on town centre regeneration to form part of the review of the Strategy in December;
- The ongoing ‘drift’ in the Streetscene & Transportation budget between budgeted and actual costs, particularly on transport solutions.
The Corporate Finance Manager presented a report on the revenue budget monitoring position for 2018/19 as at month 5 for the Council Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA), prior to consideration by Cabinet.
On the Council Fund, the operating deficit had been reduced to £0.303m from £0.660m the previous month. On the projected position of portfolios, the in-year overspend on Out of County Placements was mainly offset by a significant underspend in Central and Corporate Finance.
It was currently estimated that 97% of overall planned efficiencies would be achieved by year end.
Amongst the tracked risks, an amount of £0.015m was recommended to be met from contingency reserves as the Council’s minimum contribution towards legal costs for the independent national inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Attention was drawn to the significant pressures on schools arising from the teacher and non-teacher pay awards which were not known at the time of budget-setting. As mentioned under the previous item, anticipated changes to teachers’ pensions would result in an increase to employer contribution rates.
A summary of earmarked reserves reflected a year on year decrease with the total year-end projection at £11.101m.
On the HRA, in-year spend was projected to be £0.067m lower than budget, leaving a year end balance of £1.165m which was above the recommended minimum level.
On earmarked reserves, the Chairman asked if the name of Flintshire Enterprise Ltd could be changed as it no longer existed. Officers agreed to look into this.
Councillor Heesom remarked on changes in the budget for Streetscene & Transportation and in particular for school transport. The Chief Executive said that a forthcoming report to Cabinet would address unresolved issues considered by Overview & Scrutiny earlier in the year.
Councillor Jones referred to income from car parking charges which had not met its target projection and asked if this could be reviewed given the significant impact on town centre traders who were already struggling due to reduced footfall. He said that the Council could do more to promote and support town centre regeneration, as many people were choosing alternative ways of shopping such as Broughton Park where there were no charges. Other Members spoke in support of this view.
Councillor Mullin said that the viability of town centres was a nationwide problem due to a shift in the way that people chose to shop.
The Chief Executive said that there were a number of contributing factors to this shortfall in projected income including the delayed implemenetation of charges in Flint. More detail would be submitted to Cabinet in December as part of a mid-year review of the Car Parking Strategy.
During the discussion, reference was made to different approaches to town centre regeneration. Councillor Johnson spoke about improvements in Holywell town centre which had been shortlisted in the Great British High Street Awards. He said that accessibility of high streets included reviewing parking provision, however it was acknowledged that each town centre was different.
That the Revenue Budget Monitoring report for Month 5 be noted ... view the full minutes text for item 50