Agenda and minutes
Venue: Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone
Contact: Sam Bailey 01622 602263
Apologies for Absence
It was noted that apologies were received from Councillors Harwood and Garland and apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Blackmore.
Notification of Substitute Members
It was noted that the following members were present as substitute members:
· Councillor Burton for Councillor Garland; and
· Councillor English for Councillor Harwood.
There were no urgent items.
Notification of Visiting Members
There were no visiting members.
Disclosures by Members and Officers
There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.
Disclosures of Lobbying
There were no disclosures of lobbying.
RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public, as proposed.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2017 be agreed as a correct record of the meeting and signed.
Presentation of Petitions (if any)
There were no petitions.
Questions and answer session for members of the public (if any)
There were no questions from members of the public.
Questions from Members of the Council to the Chairman of the Committee
Question to the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee from Councillor Louise Brice
Please can you provide an update on the activity of the Business Terrace: both a breakdown of the number of users of the Maidstone Business Terrace for the current year vs. the previous year, as compared with projections; as well as a general update on recent and upcoming events??
The Chairman explained to the Committee that Councillor Brice had indicated that a written response was sufficient to answer her question, and that a briefing note had been circulated to the Committee in response to the question.
Councillor Brice confirmed that she did not have a supplementary question.
Mr Mark Green, The Director of Finance and Business Improvement, updated the Committee that the Business Terrace Update and Digital Strategy items had been moved from the February meeting of the Committee to the March meeting.
RESOLVED: That the Committee Work Programme is noted.
Mr Mark Green, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, presented a report to the Committee on the outcome of Maidstone Borough Council’s application to become part of the Kent Business Rates Retention Pilot in 2018/19. The Committee noted that:
Kent District Councils, Medway Council and Kent
County Council had submitted a successful joint bid to Central
Government to retain 100% of the growth of the Business Rates pool
in Kent for 2018/19.
The retained Business Rates growth for each
authority would be split into two funding pots. 70% of the funding
would be distributed to precepting
authorities in the form of a Financial Sustainability Fund (FSF).
The remaining 30% would be assigned to a Housing and Commercial
Maidstone Borough Council was projected to receive
£640,000 under the FSF for 2018/19 only, with no guarantee of
the pilot being extended for future years.
The report proposed that as the FSF was a one off
sum, the funding be used to support one off projects that would
provide longer term benefits. For example investing in capital
items as well as revenue projects that had the potential to
leverage in funding from other sources.
· As well as the £640,000 FSF payment, Maidstone Borough Council would have an opportunity to secure local investments from the Housing and Commercial Growth Fund for the North Kent Cluster which was worth a projected £3.2 million.
In response to questions from the Committee, Mr Green confirmed the following:
The general principles of the types of projects
under consideration for funding were what was being agreed at this stage, and that a list of
specific projects was due to be considered at a future Policy and
Resources Committee meeting.
The principles around the distribution of the
Housing and Commercial Growth Fund had not yet been agreed by the
North Kent Cluster as the governance arrangements of this element
of the scheme were not part of the bid to Central
· The funding provided by the 100% Business Rates growth retention pilot bid was intended to be used to mitigate the effect of economic growth in the borough, therefore to use this funding to limit Council Tax increases would be contrary to the bid that had been submitted to Central Government.
The Committee notes that Kent and Medway have been
selected to carry out a 100% business rates retention pilot in
Preliminary estimates indicating that Maidstone
Borough Council may receive an additional £640,000 in
Business Rates income in 2018/19 as a consequence is
3. The following parameters for the allocation of the additional Business Rates income in the 2018/19 budget are agreed:
Optimising impact of FSF expenditure
In order to achieve maximum impact from the FSF, it is proposed that it is focused on a small number of discrete projects, distinct from existing agreed revenue and capital expenditure. A greater number of projects would risk spreading management input into individual projects too thinly, and would lead to relatively small budgets for each ... view the full minutes text for item 141.
Mr Mark Green, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, gave a presentation to the Committee outlining the Council’s Capital Programme which was part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy.
Mr Green outlined the changes to the Capital Programme contained in the report, which were:
A new project added for essential safety works to
the Mote Park Lake Dam.
An expansion to the Commercial Investment programme,
as the Council had a strong track record in delivering sustainable
investments in Commercial property, for example units on the
Parkwood Industrial Estate.
Funding of the Capital Programme had previously been
possible using the Council’s reserves and New Homes Bonus.
However as these funding sources would no longer be sufficient to
fund the programme, the Capital Programme was now proposed to be
partly funded through Prudential Borrowing after
The Committee considered the report and requested that further detail be provided about the Software/PC replacement item in the programme. The Committee suggested that a sinking fund be set up for future replacement of IT equipment rather than use the Capital Programme for this purpose in the future.
Mr William Cornall, the Director of Regeneration and Place, confirmed that a project considering the redevelopment around the Train Station in Staplehurst was in its early stages. Mr Cornall confirmed that if the project was feasible then it was possible that it could be funded through the regeneration fund within the Capital Programme.
Note: Councillor Blackmore arrived during consideration of this item.
1. The Capital Strategy Principles outlined below are agreed:
The Council has developed some core principles for the inclusion of schemes within the capital programme. Schemes may be included in the capital programme if they fall within one of the four following categories:
(i) Required for statutory reasons, eg to ensure that Council property meets health and safety requirements;
(ii) Self-funding schemes focused on strategic plan priority outcomes;
(iii) Other schemes focused on strategic plan priority outcomes; and
(iv) Other priority schemes which will attract significant external funding.
The Capital Funding Projection set out in Appendix B
to this report is agreed.
The Capital Programme 2018/19 onwards as set out in
Appendix C to this report is agreed.
4. A prudential borrowing limit of £44,651,000 over the period of the programme which will be recommended to Council as part of the Treasury Management Strategy 2018/19 is noted.
Voting: For - 14 Against - 0 Abstentions - 1
Mr Mark Green, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement, introduced the Fees and Charges report for the Policy and Resources Committee. Mr Green conveyed to the Committee that this report was the regular annual review of Fees and Charges for services within the Committee’s remit.
The Committee noted that the largest area within the Committee’s remit for which Fees and Charges were collected was the Mid Kent Enforcement Service. However as the fees and charges for this service were set by statute the Committee was not able to change the level of fees and charges levied by the service.
In response to questions from the Committee, Mr Green confirmed that:
The electricity supply problems had been resolved in
Jubilee Square; and
· Income for Environmental Enforcement had reduced due to the early termination of the contract for Litter Enforcement. However the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee had agreed to set up an in house enforcement team to carry out a variety of different enforcement activities.
That the proposed discretionary fees and charges set
out in Appendix 1 to this report are agreed.
That the centrally determined fees and charges set
out in Appendix 1 to this report are noted.
3. That the overall change in fees and charges attached at Appendix 2 are noted.
Duration of Meeting
6.32 p.m. to 7.46 p.m.