The Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Resources presented a monitoring report updating Members on the Council’s financial position in the period 1st April to 31st December 2019. Unfortunately there was a projected overspend of £236,000 for the end of the financial year. However, since the period covered by the report Heads of Service and managers had been asked to ensure that essential spend only occurred and based on this Officers were anticipating that the shortfall would be closer to £70,000. This gap was primarily in respect of the unidentified savings which had been included in the Medium Term Financial Plan 2018/19 to 2021/22. Members were asked to note that no unidentified savings had been included in the Medium Term Financial Plan for the period 2019/20 to 2022/23 so this problem was unlikely to recur in 2019/20.
Details in respect of the capital budget were referred to during the presentation of the report. Members were advised that the Council had budgeted for borrowing to support capital expenditure of £4.8 million. However, the Council had only used £2.4 million in capital spending during the year. The Corporate Management Team (CMT) had therefore recently discussed the need for officers to more accurately manage the capital budget.
In relation to the Housing Revenue Account HRA the Council was aiming to use £876,000 in balances to balance the budget. There had been some overspends on voids, largely due to the fact that the number of voids turned around by the department had increased. This would ensure that those properties could be let to tenants at an earlier stage than in the past, which would have a positive impact on income for the HRA moving forward.
The Committee discussed the report and it was noted that the Council would be able to balance the budget in time for the accounts to be approved. Questions were raised about the action taken to promote the availability of disabled facilities grants to eligible residents and the reasons why an extra £96,000 had been allocated to this budget when it was generally left underspent each year. Members were advised that further information would be requested from relevant Officers, though it was understood that the additional funding was in the form of a Government grant.
Reference was also made to the Feckenham Parish Recreation Ground and whether the funding referred to related to Section 106 monies. Members were advised by Councillor Brandon Clayton, in his capacity as local ward Councillor, that this funding was connected to a Section 106 agreement in respect of an application for Yates Acre in Feckenham. Members agreed that it was important that the Council ensured that Section 106 funds were spent on the projects to which the funding had been allocated.
1) the Executive Committee note the current financial positions for the period April – December 2018 as detailed in the report.
2) the Council approve an increase in the 2018-19 Capital Programme of £4.5k s106 monies for use on undertaking a traveller/trespass function for the Council on land adjacent to Oakenshaw South roundabout.
3) the Council approve an increase in the 2018-19 Capital Budget of £96k for the Disabled facilities grant budget. This is due to further grant funding being received following the budget announcement in December 2018.
4) the Council approve the increase to the Capital Programme of £14.5k s106 monies for improvements to the play areas and open spaces on Feckenham Recreation Ground.