Minutes of the Budget Meeting held Tuesday 17th January 2017 at 7pm in The Mayor’s Parlour.
Councillor Linda Wootten Chairman LW
“ Adam Stokes AS
“ Fliss Cunningham FC
“ Nikki Manterfield NM
“ Frank Turner FT
“ Charmaine Morgan CM
“ Lynda Coutts LC
“ Jacky Smith JS
“ Mike Cook MC
“ Ray Wootten RW
“ Graham Jeal GJ
Members of the Public
Graham Newton – Grantham Journal
I am now 8 months into my year in Office and the civic year goes quickly, especially when you are very busy, although I do believe there are not so many civic engagements as there has been in the past due to austerity perhaps. My year has been a challenge; we have a new clerk in the office, Dawn who had two weeks in post training with the outgoing clerk who had been here many years. However Dawn and I have kept things going. Thank you, Dawn.
In the summer months, Peter the Mayor’s Officer left, the relief driver wasn’t available which meant Ray had to drive to events. I have also driven myself locally at no cost and walked to local events.
Andy Thompson has been taken on as the new Mayor’s Officer/ Chauffeur, at his own request has worked on an as and when basis, which suits him and our business.
I see the Mayor’s role as an honour and privilege; the role is more important than the person. I have enjoyed meeting local people and businesses, doing the best for the town.
I have assisted in running the office as I am aware that it is public money which is used and I have managed the budget. As Mayor I am the Chair of the Charter Trustees and we are given a precept which we should account for every penny. I believe every Mayor should be personally responsible for staying within their own budget and that we as Charter trustees should scrutinise more.
Having the free loan of a car from Kia is a great saving for the office and I can’t thank Kia enough.
As Mayor I have recently been under attack from hunt saboteurs, trying to pressure me into not greeting the Belvoir Hunt. This office does not invite the hunt, The Mayor is asked to greet The Hunt which meets outside the Guildhall, a long standing tradition. I believe the Deputy Mayor is putting it out for consultation this year. Thank you.
Cllr Ian Selby
Cllr Dean Ward
Cllr Helen Goral
Cllr Tracey Forman
3. Minutes of the Last Meeting
Alteration item 8 – JS
‘We had it for one year with an option to renew’
First page should say AGM – CM
True record of the meeting proposed by RW
Seconded by AS
4. Matters Arising
Comments in Minutes regarding Regalia, Mayor’s Chain, robes – MC
Mayor’s robes do not need dry cleaning, they were only bought 5 years ago – LW
5. Appointment of Mayor for 2017/18
Cllr Mike Cook – proposed by RW seconded by FT
Voted unanimously. Congratulations
6. Appointment of Deputy Mayor for 2017/18
Cllr Lynda Coutts – proposed by JS seconded MC
Voted unanimously. Congratulations
7. Financial Matters
Thanks to Adam Stokes and Graham Jeal.
Current Account balance is £22,660.00
Savings Account balance is £7,700.00
GJ expenditure is about 35% down on previous two years, there was a double digit increase in the precept last year, has the budget been exceptionally managed, fewer events this year?
JS Car MC agreed
AS Salaries as well
GJ Do we need to keep the budget the same as last year? Pay credit to you for keeping the budget smart.
LW It is a question of managing the budget and the office, it was a challenge. The Mayor’s Officer left and we recruited Dawn, the Clerk, on 20 hours and flexible time. The Summer months were quiet and we used a Relief Driver or Ray drove. We now have a new Officer who does not want to be in the office all the time, which I personally think suits the business. The car is an excellent deal, thanks to Jacky, Peter and Kia, this saves us money. It is public money after all and all events should be looked at, which is what I do.
GJ We are going to spend £15000 under budget, which is using the money smarter.
CM There are a few former Mayors here, I think you have done very well however there are different circumstances so comparisons shouldn’t be made. It is good regarding the car however those who can’t drive or don’t have partners to drive them need a car.
Can clarity be given over the opening of the Parlour as there were concerns that it wasn’t open. Has this been resolved?
LW The office usually opens May to October with members of the public wanting to look at the regalia etc
RW When Mike Green was here he opened the Parlour between May and October
CM When Jacky and Ian were in office the Parlour was opened all year.
LW It wasn’t when Ray was in Office.
MC This is the first I have heard of this
RW There is nothing to stop the Parlour being opened as the staff are here
DZ I am unable to work in the office and look after visitors in the Parlour, regarding security
CM How often are you alone in the week. We have historically had two Officers.
RW That is untrue as years ago we have had only Ann in the office until a Mayor’s Officer was appointed, in your year Frank.
FT Peter would often open the door and speak knowledgably to visitors.
CM I am picking this up as I am very interested in the Cultural History and the accessibility of the Mayor’s Office.
FT The driver is only coming in on a pro rata basis whereas previously the driver came in regularly and imparted his knowledge to visitors, complementing the Town.
JS I attended events to promote Grantham as a Town and as a place to work and for leisure.
GJ I would like to pick up on something Charmaine said I think it is impossible to compare mayors like for like, we do face challenges now as the precept is going down 20%.
CM In the current climate we have to be careful, when we talked about the chain so we need to understand how much we need for a rainy day and cutting our cloth accordingly.
MC What we need to be careful of is putting things in place which will be of detriment to future Mayors. With regards reserves we were badly advised a few years ago about what we could and could not do with the surplus from the Precept – we had to hand it back to SKDC rather than holding it in reserves. Money held in reserve can be used for specific items like a car. All good things come to an end and if Kia sell the car and there isn’t a replacement then we will have money in the reserves.
RW Surplus at the end of the year should be ring fenced for a car; money for the budget should be reduced.
JS I understand that we will be losing a grant of over £5000 that we already have which we will be losing from the Precept over the next few years.
GJ Paragraph two in the letter stating we will be given less each year – 20% which will continue.
8. Precept for 2017/18
Handed out and explained by Adam Stokes
Start with Salaries, previous years we have precepted at £28000, this year we are coming in at about £17000 so £20000 gives us a bit of a buffer.
Quick resume on headings. This budget can work, it is a good starting point it is not fixed in stone but I think we can reduce this to £39450 from £55000.
RW Are there any reserves ring fenced for the future buying of a car?
LW It was spoken about last year but it wasn’t ring fenced and it has sat there.
CM There is a significant drop in the Hospitality Budget
AS There is always a problem with Hospitality as the Mayoral year is different to the Financial Year. Money is always spent in the last two months by the outgoing Mayor
RW How much is left at the end of the year April 6th ?
GJ Very crudely rounded up £10000 – £12000 under spend, maybe more
AS I would say approximately £9500- £10000
LW Comment on Charmaines question on Hospitality – I had an event fish and chip supper. Every penny which was paid out was put back in, only the profit was put in to the Charity account. If we host someone my understanding is this is hospitality
CM For example if the Blind Society are invited into the Parlour there is no charge, which is true hospitality. Then there is the raising money for a Charity where we do charge.
Discussion re events and people being charged by the Police to assist with them and whether some money from the Hospitality budget could be used for this e.g. Remembrance Day, Bikers Run. Cost of thousands to run an event or train Marshalls. This was discussed at the last meeting.
MC I intend to open the Parlour more, to invite local communities into the Parlour so hospitality needs to be increased to help cover that. The town is becoming more multi-cultural and I want to go out and get groups to talk and integrate with each other. I believe there should be a Charity account, where the money is used to hold an event, this should not come out of the Hospitality account.
The Salary account should be increased as people will be working above their normal hours to help out at events. It looks a little tight. There is no flexibility at all
LW That is about managing the office
FT You are going to have an increase in Salaries if you intend to open the Parlour, you will need an extra £1000 on that if the Mayor’s Officer is coming in to open the Parlour.
RW Would like to move the Salaries to £22000 and the Hospitality to up to £3000 on Adam’s predictions
FT There is a considerable reduction on last year’s precept and we should look and see if another £500 would help Mike
GJ With the insurance going up in the last few years I would say the Insurance budget is too tight so would say it should go up to £3300
JS Propose Hospitality should go up to £3500
Short discussion on previous Mayor’s overspending on Hospitality, year on year.
AS Don’t propose there will be a big overspend this year, there will be some.
Budget discussed for Salaries
AS Happy to propose £22000
Discussion regarding what the incoming Mayor would like, SKDC pay rise for employees or no pay rise. 30% increase in this years salary.
JS I would like another £5000 put into reserves if there is a surplus
RW I have said we can put some of the under spent money this year into reserves
Discussion on reserves and surplus.
MC I would suggest we call a special meeting in June when we know the figure so we can transfer money into the Reserve account.
MC Propose a Salaries budget of £23000 and Hospitality of £4000
JS Propose we keep the Precept as it is
Discussion on previous Precepts.
LW Salaries – 2 proposals £22000 and £23000
RW I am happy to drop my proposal and support Mike with £23000
LW Voted unanimously £23000
Hospitality £3000 and £4000
RW proposer for £3000 AS seconded
JS I would like my vote against recorded together with MC and CM
LW Mayoral Car
RW proposer £2000 AS seconded
Discussion regarding price of fuel and Insurance
MC proposed £2500 RW seconder
GJ proposed £3300 AS seconded
Telephone and Broadband
Discussion regarding BT, fibre broadband and fixed deals.
MC proposed £900 CM seconded
AS proposed £750 RW seconded
AS proposed £1000 RW seconded
Discussion re using email, new photocopier and Christmas cards.
LW carried 1 against JS
Mayor and Deputy Allowance
AS proposed £2400 RW seconded Mayor’s allowance and £1000 Deputy Mayor’s allowance
MC proposed Deputy Mayor £1200 FT seconded
Discussion on engagements Deputy Mayor attends during the year and how the money is spent. To be reviewed positively every year.
RW proposed £350 AS seconded
AS proposed £500 RW seconded
AS proposed £500 RW seconded
Discussion on robes, badges, medals.
Association of Charter Trustees
Discussion regarding the pros and cons.
AS proposed £150 LW seconded
AS proposed £5700 LW seconded
RW proposed £500 AS seconded
MC proposed £750 JS seconded
Discussion regarding increasing and no increase of the Sundries budget
LW carried for £500
AS Precept is £44850 from £55600 last year
Jacky Smith left the meeting for another engagement
9. Any other Business
. Belvoir Hunt
RW comment in the paper regarding the Boxing Day Belvoir Hunt Meeting outside The Guildhall, as Charter Trustees we are there to meet and greet the Hunt, The Mayor or Deputy Mayor or former Mayor should go out to welcome them.
RW proposed that someone from the office will greet the Hunt MC seconded
Discussion regarding the legality of hunting, membership of the Belvoir Hunt, abusive emails sent to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Town v Country issue, and readership of The Journal
. Town Council
CM issue came up at a District Council Meeting as to whether Grantham should have a Town Council; I am in favour of going for a petition, which I believe would be well received at this time
Discussion regarding Town Councils and the Local Plan
.Employees Contracts. Clerk asked to leave the meeting.
Precept Total £44,850 including the Council Tax Support Grant.
The Meeting closed at 9pm.