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Apologies for Absence
The General Counsel reported apologies from Mr Daley, Mrs Dawson, Mr Ridgers and Mrs Stockell. Mr Messenger gave his apologies for the afternoon session. Mr A Cook, Mr Lewis and Mr Lymer gave their apologies for part of the afternoon session.
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in items on the agenda
Dr Sullivan declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest as her husband is employed by the County Council in the Early Help and Prevention Team. She did not vote on the amendment set out at paragraph 23 below.
(a) Mr Leonard Price
(1) The Chairman said, it was with regret, that he had to inform members of the death of Mr Leonard Price, former Conservative Member for Tunbridge Wells Central from 1981-1993.
(2) Mr Payne, Mr Bird and Mr Holden paid tribute to Mr Price.
(3) Following the tributes, members observed a one-minute silence in memory of Mr Price.
(4) After the one-minute silence, the Chairman moved, the Vice-Chairman seconded, and it was resolved unanimously that:
“This Council records the sense of loss it feels on the sad passing of Mr Price and extends to his family and friends our heartfelt sympathy to them in their sad bereavement”.
(b) Honours Process for New Year 2022
The Chairman said he would like to formally record the Council’s congratulations to those who had received an honour in the New Year honours list 2021, with particular congratulations to the Kent residents who received an honour. He also informed members that there was still time to nominate people working in local government (including members) for an honour in the 2022 New Year honours list. The Chairman said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was especially interested in people who were working or volunteering in their communities, including those working with the homeless or in housing more widely, those supporting community integration and interfaith work and those working in local government over an extended period to achieve the council’s local ambitions. He advised members that two letters of support had to be included with the nomination form and that further information was available from the Civic Office.
The Chairman said that the Highways Transportation and Waste team, with Amey, had won an Association for Public Service Excellence 2020 Innovation Award in December for its highways, street lighting and winter maintenance services. The award was made for the Smart Winter Project, which introduced 120 road surface temperature sensors across the county to measure road temperature and transmit data in real-time. When combined with weather station information this information enabled the development of a predictive road surface temperature model with 90% accuracy, allowing for real-time decisions on gritting routes, which made savings by avoiding unnecessary gritting, and enhanced public safety through targeted gritting where it was most required.
(1) Mr Oakford moved, and Mr Gough seconded the motion that:
“Pursuant to section 25 of the Local Government Act, the County Council is asked to note this report and agree to have due regard to the contents when making decisions about the budget.”
(2) The Corporate Director for Finance said that, as the Section 151 Officer, she was legally required to give her opinion on the robustness of the budget estimates and the level of the Council’s reserves. She said that, having taken into account a number of factors including the highly uncertain operating environment, the significantly increased financial risks being faced by the Council in both the short and medium term, a detailed assessment of the budget estimates, the Council’s financial resilience, the risks it was facing and the proposed approach to strengthening reserves contained in the appendices to the draft budget report at item 5 of the agenda and presented at a member briefing on 4 February, in her opinion, the budget estimates set out at item 5 of the agenda were robust as were the level of reserves.
(3) The Chairman put the motion set out in paragraph 1 above to the vote and the vote was as follows:
Mrs Allen, Mr Balfour, Mr Barrington-King, Mr Bartlett, Mrs Bell, Mrs Beresford, Mr Bird, Mr Bond, Mr Booth, Mr Bowles, Mr Brazier, Mr Butler, Miss Carey, Sir Paul Carter, Mrs Chandler, Mr Chard, Mr Chittenden, Mr Clinch, Mrs Cole, Mr Collor, Mr Cook, Mr Cooke, Mr Cooper, Mrs Crabtree, Mr Dance, Mrs Dean, , Mrs Game, Mr Gibbens Mr Gough, Mrs Hamilton, Mr Harman, Mr Hill, Mr Hills, Mrs Hohler, Mr Holden, Mr Homewood, Mr Hook, Mr Horwood, Mr Hotson, Mrs Hurst, Mr Kite, Mr Lake, Ida Linfield, Mr Long, Mr Love, Mr Manion, Mr Marsh, Mr McInroy, Mr Messenger, Mr Monk, Miss Morton, Mr Murphy, Mr Northey, Mr Oakford, Mr Pascoe, Mr Payne, Mrs Prendergast, Mr Pugh, Miss Rankin, Mr Simkins, Mr Sweetland, Mr Thomas, Mr Whiting, Mr Whybrow, Mr Wright.
Against (3) Miss Constantine, Mr Lewis, Dr Sullivan
Abstain(1) Mr Farrell
(4) Resolved that, pursuant to section 25 of the Local Government Act, the County Council notes this report and agrees to have due regard to the contents when making decisions about the budget.
(1) The Chairman said that any member of a local authority who was liable to pay Council Tax, and who had any unpaid Council Tax amount overdue for at least two months, even if there was an arrangement to pay off the arrears, must declare that they were in arrears and must not vote on any matter related to KCC’s Budget or Council Tax.
(2) The Chairman drew members’ attention to the Section 151 Officer’s assurance statement agreed in the previous item on the agenda.
(3) Mr Oakford moved, and Mr Gough seconded the following motion:
“County Council, having given due regard to the s25 Report (published for consideration and noting as agenda item 4 of this meeting), is asked to agree:
(a) The net revenue budget requirement of £1,132.426m for 2021-22.
(b) The 10-year capital programme and investment proposals of £1,057.925m over three years from 2021-22 to 2023-24 together with the necessary funding and subject to approval to spend arrangements.
(c) The directorate capital programmes as set out in appendices A & B of the final draft budget report published on 3rd February 2021.
(d) The directorate revenue budget proposals as set out in appendices C to F of the final draft budget report published on 3rd February 2021.
(e) The Capital Strategy as set out in appendix J of the final draft report published on 3rd February 2021 including the Prudential Indicators.
(f) The Treasury Management Strategy as set out in appendix K of the final draft report published on 3rd February 2021
(g) The Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Statement as set out in appendix M of the final draft report published on 3rd February 2021.
(h) The Reserves Policy as set out in Appendix N, including the review of the rollover procedures for 2020-21 outturn to improve financial resilience and treatment of general underspends
(i) To delegate responsibility to Cabinet Members and Corporate Directors to manage the budget within the parameters set out in the Constitution and Financial Regulations.
(j) To increase Council Tax band rates up to the maximum permitted without a referendum as set out in section 6 table 5 (page 20 of the report) in the final draft report published on 3rd February 2021.
(k) To levy the additional 3% social care precept (raising an additional £22,228,900 and taking the total social care precept to £87,335,000 out of the precept set out in recommendation (l) below).
(l) The total Council Tax requirement of £778,704,100 to be raised through precepts on districts as set out in section 6, table 4 (page 19 of the report) in the final draft report published on 3rd February.
(m) The Personnel Committee recommendation of an increase of 2% for 2021-22 for all Kent Scheme staff with the corresponding adjustment to pay scales (and noting the voluntary freeze for 2021-22 to Kent Range 17 and above offered by Corporate Directors and Directors)
(n) The Personnel Committee recommendation to increase to the entry value of the lowest grade (KR2/3) to £9.55 per ... view the full minutes text for item 5.