To consider the draft budget proposals for the financial years 2019/20 to 2023/24.
The Finance Portfolio Holder presented a first draft Budget for 2019/20 to 2023/24. The budget projections had been updated to reflect the ending of the Second Homes Agreement with the County Council, which reduced income across all years from 2019/20 by approximately £700,000. A number of additional budget pressures, growth bids and savings proposals had been identified that were outlined in the Appendices to the report. The Capital Programme had been adjusted to reflect projects where there was a well-developed business case, where work was unavoidable or where a degree of outline approval had already been indicated or was shortly expected. There were, additionally, a number of schemes where the business cases were not yet sufficiently advanced to include within the Medium Term Financial Plan capital budget. There was one change to the 2018/19 capital budget as, due to high demand, it was necessary to increase the Disabled Facilities Grant funding budget through the transfer of £192,000 of unallocated budget from the Affordable Homes budget. The resulting revised Capital Programme was presented in detail at Appendix 6 to the report. The report presented a draft position and work would continue to incorporate further changes into subsequent budget reports, such as the government grant position which was not yet known. The position set out in the report formed the basis of consultation that would ensue subject to approval by the Council at its meeting on 18 December 2018. The final Draft Budget Report would incorporate the consideration of the internal and external consultation and be presented to Cabinet on 23 January 2019, prior to final recommendations being made to Council on 26 February 2019.
In response to a query raised, the Finance Portfolio Holder informed Members that the current plan was for an increase in Council Tax of £5 per annum which was below the maximum of 3% set by Government.
The Leader thanked the Finance Portfolio Holder and officers for their work in managing the Council’s finances during times of uncertainty and austerity. He emphasised the importance of the Customer Connect Programme which would assist in fulfilling the Council’s promises to the community.
RESOLVED – That
(1) it be noted that the development of the Budget is an iterative process between now and Council on 26 February 2019. The assumptions, proposals and calculations included within it will be subject to change as more information from internal and external sources is provided and decisions around the final proposals can be made;
(2) the proposals contained in the report to achieve a balanced budget in 2019/20 be noted;
(3) the projected deficit position of circa £610,000 in 2020/21 rising to circa £2.6m by 2023/24 (this is after the Customer Connect savings have been included) be noted; and
(4) Council be requested to approve the amended 2018/19 Capital Programme as presented in Appendix 6 to the report, noting that the future years Programme is still under development.
Reasons for Decision
The report sets out the first draft Budget to enable the consideration of how the Council’s priorities will be delivered. Setting a sound framework for budget preparation assists in the delivery of all corporate outcomes. This strategy has been developed within the context of the Medium Term Financial Plan.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
The report presents alternative options in relation to potential budget pressures and savings, new capital programme bids, one off revenue growth bids and fees and charges. The proposals together aim to meet the Council’s statutory duty to set a balanced Budget for 2019/20.