Agenda item

Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring, Cash Limits and Virements - April 2019 to July 2019

This report was considered by the Cabinet at their 12th September 2019 meeting. It presents the April 2019 to July 2019 revenue and capital budget monitoring for 2019/20.


Councillor Richard Samuel introduced this report to the Panel, reminding them that it had been subject to discussion at the Cabinet meeting held on 12th September 2019.


He said that the figures were not encouraging as significant pressure remains regarding Children’s Services, in particular around Looked After Children and those with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.


He informed the Panel that there was currently a £1m shortfall in income from the Commercial Estate due to a slowing down of high street retail income.


He stated that Community Services were £0.42m under budget due to a favourable variance from strong visitor performance in the first quarter of the year in the Roman Baths and that both admission and retail income performed above budget expectations.


He said that the capital budget is currently showing an expected under budget position of £30.5m mainly due to re-phasing of Bath Quays and ACL/ADL loan drawdowns into future financial years to reflect revised project spend profiles.


He added that flood defence work was ongoing at Bath Quays South and 50% complete. With regard to Bath Quays North he explained that land assembly was ongoing and encouraged members to find out more details about the project.


The Head of Management Accounts said that void rates within the Commercial Estate had decreased, but that a yield challenge still remained. He added that the current year-end forecast is an over budget position of £1.68m, which equates to 0.59% of gross budgeted spend (excluding Schools) and that mitigation is being assessed.


Councillor Winston Duguid said that he was concerned for the coming 2-4 years of the Council and asked if valuation of the Commercial Estate took place regularly.


Councillor Richard Samuel replied that the estate had been built up over many years and said that land owned by the Council could be more profitable for both the community and the Council if planning consent were gained for specific projects. He added that he was willing to bring more information to the Panel on this matter.


The Chairman agreed that this could be considered as a future workplan item. He added that he was concerned about the health of the whole Council retail estate and asked if management of the estate had been addressed.


Councillor Samuel replied that this had not yet been addressed, but that there would be a budget line that states better utilisation of the Council’s assets.


Councillor Hal Macfie commented that Keynsham Town Councillors have been discussing the Riverside development with officers in Property Services and asked if units were proving difficult to sell would a lower rate be considered.


Councillor Samuel replied that in principle this would be considered, but that there was not a clear policy on this currently. He gave an example of two empty units in Walcot Street that were unlettable due to persistent damp and an odd layout and that decisions on these and similar sites would need to be taken as whether to renovate fully or consider actions to lead to a short term use.


Councillor Karen Warrington said that she was concerned that if further voluntary redundancies took place it would lead to a loss of skills within the Council and asked that proper assessments and mitigation are carried out.


Councillor Samuel replied that he would hope to avoid further redundancies as much as possible as staff are the Council’s most important resource. He added that Directors have until the end of the month to submit their forthcoming plans.


Councillor Andrew Furse raised an issue that he had recently been made aware of with regard to the Council Tax card payments system not working within the Keynsham One Stop Shop.


Councillor Samuel said that he would look into the matter.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the Revenue & Capital Budget Monitoring report.

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