Council Fund Budget 2019/20 - Updated Forecast and Process for Stage 3 of Budget Setting
- Meeting of Cabinet, Tuesday, 18th December, 2018 9.30 am (Item 274.)
- View the background to item 274.
To receive the verbal report.
The Chief Executive introduced the verbal item and provided copies of the presentation slides that had been delivered at County Council the previous week.
There had been no further information received since the details provided at the meeting of Council as the Final Settlement was due the following day. However, some intelligence had been received on the position on some minor grants.
A briefing paper would be available by the end of the week followed by a report to Cabinet on 22nd January and then to County Council on 29th January where a budget would be recommended for approval. Information would also be made available on reserves and balances, and borrowing through the Corporate Loans and Investment Account (CLIA).
A discussion on the budget had taken place at Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee the previous week where Members were asked if they wanted to commission Cabinet to undertake any further work before January. They requested information on Out of County Placements and Streetscene as two areas of continued overspend year on year; a report would be presented to the Committee in January. The Chief Executive said he had responded to the comments to explain that it was unreasonable to ask for any detailed work on any new options this far on in the budget setting process. Members of Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee accepted that unless there was significant savings to be found in those two areas, there was nothing more that could be done to identify further efficiencies, which Cabinet Members agreed with. The only available options to achieve a balanced budget - aside from an improved Settlement from Welsh Government (WG) - were an increase Council Tax, and limited use of reserves and balances.
The budget for the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority had been approved the previous day which resulted in an increase on the levy of 5.14%.
Councillor Shotton explained that letters had been sent to Cabinet Secretaries at WG by the Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny at Flintshire and he thanked them for that.
On a comment on borrowing made to other local authorities by Councillor Attridge, the Chief Executive explained that this did take place and generated additional interest for the Council. Details on this and other areas of interest would be placed on the Council’s website under the information section on the budget.
Councillor Bithell expressed his concern on the cumulative effect of Council Tax increases due to the unacceptable budget Settlements for local authorities.
On Out of County Placements, Councillor Jones explained that Flintshire did have some high cost placements, as did other local authorities, and alternative ways of working in the future were currently being looked into. This work would not impact on the budget in hand.
In response to a question from Councillor Thomas on the comments made at Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Streetscene and Transportation budget, the Chief Executive said he had explained to Members at the meeting that this was a complex budget which was possibly not sufficient for the services it delivered to the standards set by Council as policy. The Portfolio had been successful in achieving high levels of efficiencies over a series of budgets.
That the verbal update be received.
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