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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Suite, Gibson Building, Kings Hill, West Malling

Contact: Committee Services  Email: committee.services@tmbc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

PART 1 - PUBLIC

CB 16/59

Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 12 KB

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

Matters for Recommendation to the Council

CB 16/60

Consultations: Fairer Charging in Tonbridge and Malling; and Cessation of Council Tax Reduction Scheme Grant to Parish Councils pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Management Team gave details of the responses received in respect of the two consultations launched on 9 May 2016 for a six week period (Decision No D160037CAB).  One consultation was with parish councils regarding the potential cessation of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) grant arrangements from 2017/18.  The other involved the wider public in relation to “Fairer Charging”, the potential introduction of a Special Expenses Scheme in place of the (section 136) Financial Arrangements with Parish Councils Scheme, also with effect from 2017/18.  The Director of Finance and Transformation introduced the report and made a presentation on the responses to each consultation and the suggested way forward.

 

It was noted in respect of the CTRS consultation that responses were limited in number and were generally accepting of the Borough Council’s financial position and the “discretionary” nature of the grants currently awarded.  It was therefore recommended that such grants be withdrawn from April 2017, achieving a saving of £175,000.

 

Detailed consideration was given to the issues emerging from the Fairer Charging/ Local Charge consultation, the majority of parish councils supporting the approach, albeit with caveats, while the responses from residents were mixed with those from Tonbridge generally not in favour and those from parished areas generally supportive.  Members debated the potential service areas to be included in any Special Expenses Scheme in the light of the responses, attention being drawn to a detailed representation received in respect of Tonbridge cemetery, the position concerning open churchyards and a suggested review of Christmas lighting grants by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  It was noted that if the Council were to adopt a Special Expenses Scheme, savings of around £226,000 per annum could be achieved, subject to a decision on future support for open churchyards.

 

The report highlighted the outcome of an Equality Impact Assessment of both cessation of CTRS grants to parish councils and the implementation of a Special Expenses Scheme which indicated that there were no disproportionate effects needing to be addressed.

 

Finally, the Cabinet recorded thanks to the Director of Finance and Transformation and the cross-service officer team involved in preparation for and analysis of responses to the consultations.

 

RECOMMENDED:  That

 

(1)                                                    the responses received in respect of the consultation with parish councils regarding the cessation of CTRS grants and any potential equality impacts be noted and the grants be withdrawn from 1 April 2017 and parish councils notified accordingly;

(2)                                                    the responses received in respect of the consultation regarding the potential introduction of Special Expenses and any potential equality impacts be noted and the introduction of such a Scheme from 1 April 2017 be commended to the Council;

(3)                                                    on the basis that a Special Expenses Scheme is to be introduced, the following concurrent services should be incorporated within the Scheme:-

·       Closed churchyards

·       Open spaces, parks and play areas maintained by TMBC in parished areas; excluding Leybourne Lakes Country Park (strategic site)

·       Open spaces, play areas, parks and sportsgrounds in Tonbridge; excluding Castle Grounds and  ...  view the full minutes text for item CB 16/60

CB 16/61

Exclusion of Press and Public pdf icon PDF 28 KB

The Chairman to move that the press and public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting during consideration of any items the publication of which would disclose exempt information.

 

Minutes:

There were no items considered in private.