To present the report of the Scrutiny Manager and the Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer.
Having considered the information presented both written and verbally at the meeting, it was resolved to endorse the final draft proposed revenue budget for 2022/23 to include a Council Tax increase of 2% and to recommend the same to the Executive.
The report of the Scrutiny Manager was presented for the Committee’s consideration. Attached to the report was the report of the Director of Function (Resources) and Section 151 Officer to be presented to the Executive on 3 March, 2022 on the final draft proposals for the 2022/23 revenue budget (the Corporate Scrutiny Committee having scrutinised the initial draft revenue budget proposals at its meeting on 24 January, 2022)
Councillor Robin Williams, Portfolio Member for Finance in presenting the report confirmed that the Executive’s initial draft proposals had been out to public consultation which due to the limited time available as a result of the late announcement of the provisional settlement, only ran for a period of a fortnight between 26th January, and 9th February, 2022. The consultation set out the Council’s financial position, the financial risks and issues which the Council faces and sought the views of Anglesey taxpayers on the Executive’s proposal to address those risks through re-investment in services partly funded by 2% increase in Council Tax. The outcome of the process is analysed in detail in the report but in summary it can be reported that 115 responses were received of which 31% agreed with the proposed 2% increase in the Council Tax and 69% did not agree. Due to the delays in receiving the provisional and final settlements, the budget timetable for 2022/23 has had to be condensed to enable the Council to set the Council tax within the timeframe set out by law meaning that the time available for the public consultation has been short raising the question of the effectiveness of the process. The final draft budget proposal remains unchanged from the initial proposal put forward in January, 2022 namely a net budget for the County Council of £158.365m and resulting increase of 2% in the Council Tax which is the lowest increase in North Wales and places Anglesey eighteenth out of the twenty-two local authorities in Wales.
The Director of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer focused on the risks to the budget and their implications as well as factors that could mitigate those risks thereby lessening their impact. These risks were set out in detail in paragraph 5.3 of the report with the most prominent being the uncertainty around pay and price inflation during 2022/23. Other risks include movement in interest rate; reduction and/or withdrawal of grant funding; non-achievement of income targets; non-payment and/or avoidance of Council Tax premium; movement in the Council Tax base which may affect the Council Tax yield as well as lower collection rate because of the pandemic; and a change in demand for services. However, having considered all the risks and the mitigating actions, the Director of Function (Resources)/ Section 151 Officer confirmed that it was his view that the budgets are robust and deliverable.
As at 31 March, 2021, the Council’s general reserves stood at £11.437m which is equivalent to 7.77% of the Council’s net revenue budget for 2020/21. During the year, £4.5m of reserves have ... view the full minutes text for item 3