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Items
No. Item

The Chair referred to the absence of the Leader and Chair, Councillor Llinos Medi Huws due to a family bereavement. He extended his and the Executive’s condolences to the family at this difficult time.

1.

Declaration of interest

To receive any declaration of interest from a Member or Officer in respect of any item of business.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors Richard Dew, R. Meirion Jones and Robin Williams declared a personal but not prejudicial interest with regard to item 5 on the agenda.

2.

Urgent matters certified by the Chief Executive or his appointed officer

No urgent matters at the time of dispatch of this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None to report.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 261 KB

To submit for confirmation, the draft minutes of the meetings of the Executive held on the following dates:-

 

  15 October 2018 (Extraordinary)

  22 October 2018 (Extraordinary)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meetings of the Executive held on 15 October, 2018 (extraordinary) and 22 October, 2018 (extraordinary) were presented for confirmation.

 

It was resolved that the minutes of the previous meetings of the Executive held on 15 and 22 October, 2018 be confirmed as correct.

 

 

4.

Budget Consultation Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 764 KB

To submit a report by the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Transformation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Corporate Transformation incorporating the proposed 2019/20 Budget Consultation Plan was presented for the Executive’s consideration. The Plan would be implemented during the period from 12 November, 2018 to 31 December, 2018.

 

The Portfolio Member for Corporate Business reported that the Budget Consultation Plan is scrutinised and reviewed each year so that future plans can be improved. The 2019/20 Consultation Plan seeks to engage more widely with young people and to make more extensive use of social media as a means of raising awareness of the Council’s Budget proposals and of reaching people to obtain  their views thereon. The Portfolio Member said that Members too have an important role to play  in helping  people understand how the Council is funded, how it spends public money and why it has to make cuts to budgets and services.

 

Councillor Dylan Rees, Vice-Chair of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee said that the Scrutiny Committee had considered the 2019/20 Budget Consultation Plan in its meeting on the 6th November, 2018. In accepting the Plan the Committee had commented on the importance of ensuring that there are robust arrangements in place for effective engagement with children and young people as part of the consultation process and also, that the well-being of future generations should form an integral part of the process with the Public Services Board being consulted as one of the Council’s key strategic partners.

 

The Executive considered the Plan and suggested that in order to help the public form a view about the proposals which the Council is putting forward in order to be able to deliver a balanced budget, a short video clip and/or fact sheet might be prepared setting out the context in relation to why the Council has to save money, the extent  of the savings it has had to make to date and the challenge it is facing in trying to meet the demand for services when its funding is being cut year on year.

 

The Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer confirmed that those elements will be covered by the consultation package when it is published.

 

It was resolved to approve the Budget Consultation Plan 2019/20 to be implemented in the period 12 November to 31 December, 2018.

5.

Council Tax Premiums - Second Homes and Long-Term Empty Property (Review of First Year) pdf icon PDF 927 KB

To submit a report by the Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer on the first year’s operation of the Council Tax premium during the 2017/18 financial year and to date for 2018/19 was presented for the Executive’s consideration. The report sought to establish whether the premiums applied in 2017/18 (25% of the standard rate of council tax for both long-term empty homes and second homes) met the aims of the Executive and the Council and whether, as a consequence, the premium levels need to be varied or revoked when the Full Council sets its Council Tax requirement for 2019/20.

 

The Portfolio Member for Finance reported that when the Welsh Government gave discretion to local authorities to charge a premium on top of the standard rate of Council Tax it was meant as a tool to bring long-term empty homes back into use and to support local authorities in increasing the supply of affordable housing and enhancing the sustainability of local communities. The Portfolio Member said that all the various options for the future application of the Council Tax premium have been considered as they are outlined in the report having regard to a number of factors in relation to the operation of the premium following its implementation in April, 2017. The Portfolio Member referred to Appendix A to the report which provides details of the estimated income that would apply for different premium percentages for both long-term empty homes and second homes and to Appendix B which provides information about the premiums applied by other local authorities in Wales and their future plans where known. Taking into account all the information provided by the review of the premium’s first year of operation, and in light of the fact that there remains many long-term empty homes across the Island which the Council is keen to see being brought back into use, the recommendation is that a full public consultation be undertaken on raising the premium for second homes to 35% of the standard rate of council tax and to 100% for long-term empty homes.

 

The Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer said that the review shows that the decision to levy the premium and its application since have not had a significant effect on the number of second homes or long-term empty homes in terms of prompting owners liable to pay the premium into taking action to market or sell their properties or seeking to transfer properties to business rates to claim an exception, nor has the application of the premium had a noticeable effect on the Council Tax base. Although there is £13,988 outstanding as unpaid Council Tax premium for 2017/18, the collection rate for 2017/18 at 98.5% is very good. Increasing the premium for 2019/20 will generate more income thereby allowing additional funding to be allocated to schemes designed to assist first time buyers if the Council is so minded. However, increasing the premium also brings with it the following risks -

 

           Owners of second homes could seek to avoid  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Draft Revenue Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 570 KB

To submit a report by the Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Function (Resources) incorporating the draft Revenue Budget for 2019/20 was presented for the Executive’s consideration.

 

The Portfolio Member for Finance reported that setting the Revenue Budget for 2019/20 was always going to be a challenge - this task has become yet more difficult after the disappointing provisional settlement which Anglesey has received from Welsh Government which has left the Council with a funding gap of approximately £7m (before any savings and Council Tax increase are taken into account). The Council is therefore facing having to make some very difficult decisions. Although services have identified a total of £3.747m savings to date, the current 2018/19 budget is forecast to overspend due mainly to pressures on Children’s Services, and this will have to be funded from general reserves meaning that the Council’s balance of general reserves will reduce further to below the minimum recommended balance. The Portfolio Member said that the provisional budget including the list of proposed savings in Appendix 4 as well as the level of Council Tax increase will be subject to public consultation. The impact of various levels of Council Tax increase is shown in the table at section 10.2 of the report with options to increase the Council Tax by between 5% and 10% being considered. The financial situation going into 2019/20 is difficult and savings will have to be implemented as will a significant increase in the Council Tax. The exact level of increase is dependent also on whether Welsh Government passes on any or some of the extra funding which it received in the Chancellor’s Budget to local government and if so, what will be Anglesey’s share of this money.

 

The Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer said that the first step in setting the Revenue Budget for 2019/20 is to create standstill budget i.e. a budget required to  provide the same level of service as in 2018/19 but adjusted for any known or committed changes (e.g. increase or decrease in costs) – the main changes are detailed in sections 3 and 4 of the report -  and after adjustments for staffing changes and pay and price inflation which are detailed in sections 5 and 6 of the report. However, in order to ensure that the budget provides a realistic level of funding, additional changes are required to reflect the current demand and any additional known budget pressures - especially in Children’s Services to support the increasing number of children in care, and as a result of that, in Education Out of County fees as outlined in section 7 of the report. The Officer pointed out that the Welsh Government has transferred two grants (Teachers’ Pay Grant and Free School Meals Grant) that it intends to award Councils in 2018/19 into the settlement in 2019/20. For the reasons given in paragraph 7.5 of the report it is recommended that these two grants are not transferred into the service budgets but are treated as additional general funding.

 

Based on all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Capital Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 589 KB

To submit a report by the Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer incorporating a proposed capital budget for 2019/20 was presented for the Executive’s recommendation.

 

The Portfolio Member for Finance reported that the Executive is required to propose a capital budget for 2019/20 which will then be presented to the Full Council at its meeting on 27 February, 2019. The report set out the proposed main capital programme for 2019/20 as well as bids for additional schemes regarding which the Executive’s guidance is sought.

 

The Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer said that the core capital budget  reaffirms previous capital strategies which are based on investing in existing I.T, vehicle and building assets, road surfacing work and providing disabled facilities grants as statutorily required. As in previous years the level of core capital funding which the Council receives from Welsh Government (encompassing the General Capital Grant and the Unhypothecated Supported Borrowing) is largely unchanged meaning that its purchasing power reduces year on year thereby limiting what the Council can do. The Council has over the years made use of capital receipts from the sale of surplus assets as a contribution towards capital expenditure. However, apart from surplus school sites which have become available as a result of the Schools’ Modernisation Programme the proceeds from the sale of which are earmarked for building new schools, the Council has very few other assets to sell and so the sum available from capital receipts to fund new capital expenditure is much reduced from previous years.

 

The Officer referred to the following as matters requiring the Executive’s guidance on how to proceed –

 

           In previous capital budgets, £1m of capital funding has been allocated towards the Seiriol Extra Care Home project. However, as this project will now be funded in its entirety through the Housing Revenue Account, the £1m allocated can now be released to fund other capital projects – a decision needs to be made on whether to release this funding.

           In the 2018/19 Capital Programme, £1.858m of funding was allocated to the Gypsies and Traveller permanent and temporary sites consisting of £0.450m external grant for the permanent site and £1.408m from the Council’s own resources. There is planned expenditure of £0.120m in 2018/19 on the scheme leaving £1.288m of unused Council funding to be carried forward into 2019/20.As planning permission for the temporary site has now been granted, £0.778m has been included in the 2019/20 draft capital programme for the completion of this project. The plans for the permanent site have not moved ahead as quickly - planning permission has yet to be given and further work is required on the financial viability of the project. A decision needs to be made therefore on whether to release the remaining £0.51m of funding which can be used to fund other capital projects in 2019/20. Once the scheme has been finalised and the costs agreed, capital funding will be allocated to the project at a future date.

           There have been 10 new capital  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

 

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