Minutes of the meeting of the Finance Committee 16 October 2019

Held at Walford Village Hall
Wednesday 16 October 2019 at 6.30pm

Councillors: Karen Chinn (Chair), Joanne Akers, Simeon Cole (arrived late), Ruth Dolman, Bob Puzey and Monica van Lienden

In attendance: Richard Abolins (Clerk), 2 members of the public

1. Apologies for absence: – none.

2. Declarations of interest and written requests for dispensation: – none.

3. Adoption of Minutes of previous meeting: – It was resolved to adopt the minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2019 as a true and accurate record. They were signed by the Chair.

4. Public participation session: – no comments were received.

5. Financial information:
5.1 Cllr van Lienden asked how the car parking at the canoe launch site was policed and how accurate were the income figures. Riversea Holdings administer this, but when the RFO contacts them for next year’s budget figures he will also ascertain what the procedures are. We should also advertise in the newsletter and by notice at the parking meter that residents of the parish were entitled to free parking.
Cllr Dolman asked what the donations to supported schemes were. This is a fund for local projects to apply for grants. There is a policy on the website, but this should also be promoted more prominently and in the newsletter.
5.2 All members had received the bank statements and reconciliation before the meeting and Cllr Akers signed the bank reconciliation as being accurate.

6. Payments:
6.1 Cllr Dolman asked what the office costs on the Clerk’s expenses were. This is the payment for the use of part of his home as an office and includes power. Cllr Dolman questioned the amount of ink being used by the Clerk. He explained that there had been extra meetings and there was a significant amount of printing for each one even if it was in draft form for checking. In addition, the were eight notice boards to be filled. Today’s meeting, for example, required 32 sheets just for notices. One issue might be the small inkjet being used by the Clerk. He was asked to research a more cost-effective machine. Cllr Puzey also suggested using an online HP account.
Cllr Chinn asked that we made sure that the Lengthsman wasn’t doing work which should be done by the landowner.
It was resolved to approve the payments on Appendix 3.
6.2 Cllr Dolman was uncomfortable about ratifying payments which were not disclosed in the schedule and asked if they should be dealt with in a confidential closed session. It was explained that these payments were basic salaries and the Clerk will make it clear next time. Any payments above this would be dealt with in closed session, as they were at the last meeting. It was resolved to ratify the payments on Appendix 3.

7. Banking arrangements:
7.1 The details of the savings accounts were the same as at the last meeting and it was resolved to recommend that the Council approve a twelve-month fixed rate account with a rate of 1.05%.
7.2 The RFO found that a debit card on any current account did not have an expenditure limit. Using an account with a smaller balance would reduce the impact of fraudulent activity but not eliminate it. A charge card could have a spending limit attached and that would be the maximum liability, but there was an annual charge of £32. Members felt that despite the small cost, this was the preferred option. It was resolved to recommend that the Council approve than application for a charge card for the Clerk.

8. Limited assurance review:
8.1 The report from the external audit was received. It was noted that the financial affairs of the Council were all in order.

9. Risk management:
9.1 The risk management schedule had been updated with assessments from WCSS. The Clerk was asked to obtain risk assessments from Riversea Holdings and working groups.

Cllr Cole entered the room

Cllr Dolman asked for two typos to be amended and it was agreed to review the document every month for the time being.

10. Draft budget for 2020/21:
10.1 Initial budget estimates should be given to the RFO by the end of October and he will prepare a draft budget for the next meeting.
10.1.1 The RFO will contact Riversea Holdings and the repairs co-ordinator for budget estimates.
10.1.2 The RFO will contact working group co-ordinators
10.1.3 The RFO will contact the Lengthsman co-ordinator and the Rights of Way Officer for expenditure estimates
10.1.4 No other areas of expenditure could be envisaged at this stage.

11. Public participation session
11.1 A resident commented that the income received from the canoe launch site provides a financial benefit and the accounts would be in deficit otherwise.

12. Items for next meeting agenda
12.1 Draft budget for 2020/21
12.2 Consideration of cost-effective printer for the Clerk
12.3 Review of canoe launch car park process
12.4 Review of risk management schedule

13. Next meeting: – 6.30pm on Wednesday 27 November 2019 at Walford Village Hall

The meeting closed at 19:22

PDF copy of minutes

September finance report

September bank reconciliation