Members considered proposed fees and charges to take effect from 1 April 2021.
The Business Support Team Leader introduced the report, and highlighted the following points:
· Prosperous Communities Committee had recommended their schedules to this committee for approval at their meeting earlier in December;
· 41% of the fees were statutory, leaving the remaining 59% as non-statutory. This 59% of fees had been reviewed, and where reasonable an inflationary rate of 3% had been applied. Some fees had been increased at a rate above inflation; this was because total cost recovery wasn’t being achieved, and they may appear lower when being compared with benchmarking data;
· Where inflation had been applied for 2021/2022, a 2% inflationary rise had been assumed but future years’ budgets;
· One charge, for the Trinity Arts Centre Sunday theatre hire and performance was proposed to be removed and the Friday to Saturday charge expanded to include Sunday at the same rate;
· As a result of this exercise, the base income budget had been increased by £24,600 for 2021/2022, rising to £42,900 in 2025/2026.
Note: Councillor David Cotton declared a personal interest in fees and charges related to the Crematorium due to the amount of time he spent there as part of his ministerial duties.
Members then provided comment on the report, as well as asking questions of officers. Further information was provided:
· Overall the report was much clearer than the version considered by Prosperous Communities Committee; the Business Support Team Leader was to be commended for this;
· Any carbon reduction and sustainability targets would be considered as part of the Investment Strategy;
· One of the fees related to Electoral Services was letters confirming electors’ registers; these letters were not charged for in 2019/2020 or 2020/2021 as they had ceased in 2018/2019;
· The public sector pay award for 2020/2021 was 2.75%; therefore this was why the inflationary index of 3% had been used.
It was subsequently moved, seconded, and following a vote, it was unanimously RESOLVED to:
(1) Recommend to Full Council for approval the proposed fees and charges as detailed in Appendices A and B;
(2) Recommend to Full Council for approval the proposed fees and charges at Appendices 1-3, as well as those recommended by Prosperous Communities Committee as detailed at Appendices 4-18;
(3) Ask officers to keep fees and charges under review throughout the year. If necessary changes were identified during the financial year, these would be reported directly to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee for approval as appropriate.