Agenda and decisions

Council
Wednesday, 26 February 2020 7.00pm

Venue: Council Chamber. View directions

Contact: Fungai Nyamukapa  Email: fungai.nyamukapa@stevenage.gov.uk Tel: 01438 242707

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Decision:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Doug Bainbridge, Adrian Brown, Dave Cullen and Lizzie Kelly. 

 

There were no declarations of interest.

 

At this juncture, Council agreed to suspend Standing Order 19 (c) so that Members could stay seated when speaking.

2.

MINUTES - 29 JANUARY 2020 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 29 January 2020

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 29 January 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

3.

MAYOR'S COMMUNICATIONS

To receive any communications that the Mayor may wish to put before Council

Decision:

The Mayor introduced a short film entitled “The Canyon”.  The film featured Stevenage District Scouts at the Activity Centre. It was noted that the centre had received Local Community Budget funding from some Members.  The Leader thanked Stevenage District Scouting for a wonderful addition to the young people offer in Stevenage.

 

The Mayor highlighted the following upcoming events:

 

Mayor’s Charity Concert – 11 March 2020

 

Environment Action Day – 26 March 2020

 

Litter picks with Stevenage District Scouts – 28 March 2020

 

Mayor’s Reception for Stevenage Community Trust and Stevenage Kadoma Link Association – 21 April 2020

 

The Mayor also provided updates on the Community History Project and plans to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. 

 

4.

MAIN DEBATE - 2020/21 COUNCIL TAX AND GENERAL FUND AND CAPITAL BUDGETS pdf icon PDF 802 KB

To approve the Council's Final General Fund Budget for 2020/21, projected 2019/20 General Fund Budget and final proposals for the 2020/21 Council Tax and Council Tax Support Scheme

 

Reports and Appendices attached

Additional documents:

Decision:

The Main Debate related to item 4 on the agenda.

 

The Leader then presented the 2020/2021 Budget, projected 2019/20 General Fund Budget and final proposals for the 2020/21 Council Tax and Council Tax Support Scheme.  The Leader moved the Motion, recommendations of the Executive and the formal Council Tax Resolution that was circulated around the Chamber.

 

Council agreed to an additional recommendation that officers report back on the feasibility and implications of allowing members to roll forward, within limits, their Local Community Budgets at the financial year end.

 

After a full debate, a recorded vote* was taken and it was RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the following be approved:

 

a.         the revised working revenue estimates for the year 2019/20 amounting to £9,678,680 and the revenue estimates for 2020/21 amounting to £9,069,830;

 

b.         the contribution from balances totalling £924,606 in 2019/20;

 

c.         the contribution from balances totalling £349,030 in 2020/21.

 

2.         That it be noted that at its meeting on 22 January 2020 the Executive calculated the amount of 27,780.7 Band D equivalent properties as its council tax base for the year 2020/21 in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 1992 made under Section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by Section 74 of the Localism Act 2011.

 

3.         That the following amounts be calculated by the Council for the year 2020/21 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as  amended by Section 74 of the Localism Act 2011:

 

a.         £82,599,746  Being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2)(a) to (f) of the Act, less the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3)(a) to (d)

 

b.         £76,611,145  Being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3)(a) to (d) of the Act.

 

c.         £5,988,601    Being the amount by which the aggregate at 3a above exceeds the aggregate at 3b above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 31A(4) of the Act as its Council Tax requirement for the year.

 

d.         £215.57          Being the amount at 3c divided by the amount at 2 above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B (1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year

 

e.         Valuation Bands     

 

            A         £  143.71

            B         £  167.67

            C         £  191.62

            D         £  215.57

            E         £  263.47

            F          £  311.38

            G         £  359.28

            H         £  431.14

 

Being the amounts given by multiplying the amount at 3d. above by the number which, in the proportion set out in Section 5(1) of the Act, is applicable to dwellings listed in a particular valuation band divided by the number which in that proportion is applicable to dwellings listed in valuation D, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 36(1) of the Act, as the amounts to be taken into account  ...  view the full decision text for item 4.

5.

PETITIONS AND DEPUTATIONS

None.

Decision:

None.

6.

QUESTIONS FROM THE YOUTH COUNCIL

In accordance with Standing Orders, written responses to the following questions will be tabled at the Council meeting:

 

Questions from the Youth Council

 

(A)       “How could Brexit affect Stevenage?”

 

(B)       “How do we deal with items being dumped at different places (such as trolleys)?”

 

(C)       “Could there be a cycle track as part of the Town Centre regeneration?”

 

(D)       “Could the King George Field be reviewed to provide better use for young people e.g. include cycling and multi sports use?

 

 

Decision:

Council received four questions from the Youth Council.  The responses to the four questions were circulated at the Meeting and are appended to the Minutes.

 

The Youth Council representative did not ask supplementary questions.

7.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC

None.

Decision:

None.

8.

LEADER OF THE COUNCIL'S UPDATE

In accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders, the Leader of the Opposition shall be given the opportunity to raise one matter relevant to the Borough that has arisen since the last meeting of the Council. The Leader of the Council shall then have the opportunity to advise the Council of matters relevant to the Borough that have arisen since the last meeting.

Decision:

The Leader of the Opposition asked about the Council’s plans to contribute towards the Labour Party’s 2019 general election pledge to plant two billion trees by 2040.  In response, the Leader of the Council acknowledged that planting trees across the world was one of the most effective means of tackling the climate crisis.  Councillor Taylor indicated that the Council would work with communities, business and other partners on the climate change agenda.

 

In light of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Leader of the Council invited Strategic Director (RP) to give Members an update on global and local perspectives of the outbreak.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern and the UK had raised the risk to from low to moderate.   Central government and local authorities were planning for all scenarios.

 

The Herts Strategic Co-ordinating Group was now holding weekly meetings to monitor the situation and agree actions to be taken.  Resilience officers across Hertfordshire were monitoring the situation daily.  An officer working group had been established to co-ordinate the Council’s response to a potential coronavirus outbreak within the town.  General advice had already been issued to Members and SBC staff.  Regular updates based on the latest Public Health and government travel advice would be provided.

 

The Leader of the Council welcomed the announcement by the Health Secretary that staff self-isolating due to coronavirus should get sick pay.  Members recommended that links to government advice on the coronavirus outbreak be added to the Council website.

9.

NOTICE OF MOTIONS

None.

Decision:

None.

10.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS TO COMMITTEE CHAIRS/PORTFOLIO HOLDERS

In accordance with Standing Orders, written responses to the following questions will be tabled at the Council meeting:

 

(A)       Question from Councillor Alexander Farquharson

 

"What is the Council doing to ensure that vulnerable residents, who struggle to manage their finances, are not taken advantage of by credit card and loan companies?"

 

(B)       Question from Councillor Jody Hanafin

 

“Could the Council provide an update on the situation regarding the provision of a new Post Office in the Old Town's High Street and advise whether any progress has been made toward sourcing a temporary facility in the meantime?”

 

(C)       Question from Councillor Graham Lawrence

 

            “Given the Government’s decision to ban the sale of petrol & diesel cars by 2035, what is this Council doing to ensure that all new developments in Stevenage are future proofed by having a plentiful number of electric car charging points installed?”

 

(D)       Question from Councillor Margaret Notley

 

“As there is already very limited disabled parking provision at the car parks adjacent to Stevenage railway station, will extra spaces be made available after the completion of the fifth platform as the need is likely to increase?”

Decision:

Council received four questions. The responses to the four questions were circulated at the Meeting and are appended to the Minutes.

 

A. Question from Councillor Alexander Farquharson

 

In response to a supplementary question from Cllr Farquharson, Cllr Sharon Taylor stated that the government’s austerity measures and the introduction of Universal Credit had driven some vulnerable residents into poverty.

 

B. Question from Councillor Jody Hanafin

 

Cllr Lloyd Briscoe advised Cllr Hanafin that no timescales had been set for a new Post Office in Old Town High Street noting the autonomy of Post Office Limited in this matter.

 

C. Question from Councillor Graham Lawrence

 

Councillor Lawrence sought clarification on whether the Council had considered installing electric vehicles (EV) charging points in recently completed schemes.  Cllr John Gardner confirmed that the Council had held discussions with developers regarding EV charging points and existing and future housing developments.  The Portfolio Holder also stressed that further government funding was vital for these projects if Climate Change targets were to be met.

 

D. Question from Councillor Margaret Notley

 

In response to a supplementary question, Cllr Briscoe indicated that there was no indication of a significant increase in rail passenger numbers in the short term.  The Leader assured Members that extra disabled parking spaces would be available after the planned construction of a multi-storey car park at the railway station.

11.

UPDATE FROM SCRUTINY CHAIRS

To receive an update from the Chairs of each of the Scrutiny Committees on recent activities

Decision:

The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee reported that due to other business the review of the Council’s scrutiny arrangements was still in progress.

 

The Chair of the Community Select Committee informed Council that since the last meeting, the Committee had met as a Group to advise the Portfolio Holder on Damp and Condensation Policy and Aids & Adaptations Policy. The Chair invited Members to submit topics for consideration in the work programme for 2020/21.

 

The Chair of the Environment and Economy Select Committee also invited Members to submit topics for consideration in the work programme for 2020/21.  He informed Council that the Committee was at the fact-finding stage of the Neighbourhood Centres review and had commenced with site visits to inform the approach to be taken to the review.

12.

ANNUAL TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY INCLUDING PRUDENTIAL CODE INDICATORS 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 517 KB

To consider an Officer report that recommends the approval of the Treasury Management Strategy 2020/21 including the Annual Investment Strategy and the prudential indicators

 

Report and Appendices attached

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Treasury Management Strategy be approved

 

2.         That the prudential indicators for 2020/21 be approved

 

3.         That the minimum revenue provision policy be approved

 

4.         That an increase to the maximum level of long term (invested for longer than 12 months) investments from £10Million to £20Million when cash balances are higher than £30Million be approved

13.

MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES SCHEME 2020/21 (INCLUDING IRP REPORT) pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider the Independent Remuneration Panel report that recommends to Council a Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2020/21

 

Report and Appendices attached

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the report of the Independent Panel be noted and that findings form the basis of the formal Members’ Allowances Scheme and the allowances paid the Mayor and Deputy Mayor

 

2.         That in accordance with the comments of the Panel regarding payment of carers’ allowances, the scheme be extended to accept payments to relatives who do not live in the same household as the Councillor. In all circumstances receipts must be submitted

 

3.         That in the light of the report of the Independent Panel the draft formal Scheme shown at Appendix B to this report be approved for 2020/2021

 

4.         That following the recommendation from the Independent Panel allowances be increased in line with future staff pay wards covered by the terms and conditions of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) once known and as recommended by the Panel.  This indexation to apply until 2024 subject to any further Independent Panel reports

14.

PAY POLICY STATEMENT 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To consider an officer report recommending the pay policy statement for the financial year 2020/21

 

Report and Appendix attached

Decision:

It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Pay Policy Statement set out in accordance with the Localism Act 2011 and the Local Government Transparency Code 2015, as attached at Appendix 1 to this report, be approved

 

2.         That the pay policy is placed on the Council’s web site and that a notice of the policy is published in the next edition of Chronicle

15.

LICENSING ACT 2003 STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES/POLICY pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider an officer report that recommends to Council the adoption of the Statement of Licensing Policy, as required under the Licensing Act 2003

 

Report and Appendices attached

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED that Council adopts the proposed Stevenage Borough Council Licensing Act Statement of Policy 2020-2025 as attached at appendix A of the report.

16.

AUDIT COMMITTEE MINUTES pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To note the draft Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 3 February 2020.

Decision:

It was moved, seconded and RESOLVED that the Draft Minutes of the Audit Committee of 3 February 2020 are noted.