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Maldon Town Council


Maldon Town HallMaldon Town Hall
Town Council Offices,
Town Hall, Market Hill,
Maldon, Essex,  CM9 4RL.

MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER, 2002 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr S. Thain
Councillors: E. Bannister, Mrs M. Curtis, W. Prior, Mrs S. Riesebeck, P. Roberts (Town Mayor) and T. Shrimpton
In Attendance: Cllr. S. Savage, a representative from CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
 38. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. M. Bentley and P. Rew.
 39. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 23RD JULY, 2002

Minute 32

It was noted that the minutes were incorrectly numbered from minute 32 and it was agreed that the Town Clerk should rectify this matter.

RESOLVED: that (a) the Town Clerk rectifies the incorrect minute numbers;

(b) the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 23rd July, 2002 be approved and adopted.
 40.

40.1

a.
FINANCIAL REPORTS

Receipts and Expenditure

Members received and considered:

Financial reports detailing receipts and expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st July 2002.

The Chairman informed members that the following budget headings were showing negative balances due to unforeseen expenditure which had arisen during the year:

¨ Market Hill Garden
¨ Solicitors Fees
¨ Community Hall - Gas Maintenance
¨ Community Hall - Access & Lock Maintenance
  b. A list of cheques and Standing Orders for supplies and services in excess of £500.00 from 1st July to 31st July, 2002.

Members noted cheques had been received during July from the Maldon District Council for £4,000.00 in respect of the railings at Market Hill Garden and £750.00 towards the Maldon in Bloom campaign.
RESOLVED: that (a) the report attached as Appendix "A" to these minutes detailing receipts and expenditure be noted;

(b) the list of cheques and Standing Orders in excess of £500.00 be noted;

(c) the contributions from the Maldon District Council be noted.
40.2 Donations

Members recalled that the sum of £2,000.00 had been included in the 2002/03 budget for donations and to-date the following amounts had been donated:

Maldon Town Regatta - £200.00
Maldon Twinning Association - £224.25
Hemmings Court Jubilee Party - £100.00

Maldon District Museum Association
An application for grant funding had been received from the Maldon District Museum Association for assistance to replace their photocopier as their current model was obsolete. It had been envisaged that a new photocopier would cost approximately £500.00 and a copy of their accounts were available for inspection at the meeting.

Discussion ensued and members expressed the view that as the museum is the Maldon District Museum it should be the District Council that makes such provision. Members were also concerned that it would set a precedent for other District based organisations to apply for Town Council donations and in this respect it was

RESOLVED: that the request for a donation from the Maldon District Museum Association be declined.
 40.3

  a.
Conferences

Rural Community Council of Essex - Village Halls Conference
Members were informed that notification had been received from the Rural Community Council of Essex regarding a Village Halls Conference to be held at Stock Village Hall on Saturday 12th October, 2002. The cost per delegate was £11 and the Conference would include talks on Trustee Liability Insurance, Access Auditing, Village Hall and the Feasibility Process, Community Fund and a Village Halls Question Time.

The Chairman enquired if any member would like to represent the Town Council at the Conference. As no member indicated that they wished to attend, the Chairman suggested that an item be included on the next Town Council agenda and it was agreed that should a member wish to attend the Conference the Committee would fund their attendance.

RECOMMENDED: that information regarding the Village Halls Conference be included on the agenda for the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September, 2002.
  b. Action for Market Towns
Members received and considered a request from Mr M. Foster, Town Centre Manager for financial assistance to attend the 2 day, Action for Market Towns Annual Conference to be held on 20th - 21st September, 2002 in Ely at a cost of £187.50 per delegate.

Members were informed that £286.00 remained in the 2002/03 budget for attendance at meetings/training.

The Chairman reminded members that the position of Town Centre Manager was part funded by the Town Council. Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the Town Council should fund the Town Centre Manager's attendance at the Conference but that he be requested to forward a comprehensive report regarding the proceedings to the Town Council.

RESOLVED: that the sum of £187.50 for the Town Centre Manager's attendance at the Action for Market Towns Annual Conference in Ely be approved and that he be requested to submit a report regarding the Conference to the Town Council.
 40.4

  a.

  b.
Audit

End of Year Returns
Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk regarding the End of Year Accounts and Supporting Statements and noted the amendments to No.2 - Borrowing.

RESOLVED: that the report be noted.

Annual Return
Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk which stated that papers relating to the Annual Return, which comprised of four sections, had been received from Lubbock Fine Chartered Accountants. In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of the Return and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to it had been available to the public from Friday, 23rd August for a period of 14 working days. However, the letter from the accountants had been received only two days prior to notices being published and it had not therefore been possible to complete all sections prior to making the documents available to the public - the auditor had been informed and it was intended that representations would be submitted through the Essex Association of Local Councils.

Members were requested to confirm the content of Section 2 - Statement of Assurance in order that it could be signed by the Mayor at the Council meeting to be held on 30th September

RECOMMENDED: that the Statement of Assurance be approved and submitted to the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September for signing by the Mayor.
  c. Fidelity Guarantee
Further to minute 28.4(a) of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 23rd July, 2002 members were advised of the financial implications of increasing the Fidelity Guarantee limit to £100,000.00.

Discussion ensued and members considered whether it would be necessary to increase the limit of the Fidelity Guarantee in the next financial year and in this respect it was proposed by Cllr. Roberts and seconded by Cllr. Mrs Curtis that no further action be taken.

RECOMMENDED: that no further action be taken regarding increasing the Fidelity Guarantee limit to £100,000.00.
40.5 "Local Council Finance" - Concise Guide To Council Cash

Members were informed that a new book entitled "Local Council Finance" by Ron Harrop and Chris Richards had been published by Shaw & Son at a cost of £14.95 and it was suggested that it would be helpful for the Town Council to purchase a copy.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council purchases a copy of "Local Council Finance" at a cost of £14.95 from Shaw & Son. (Local Government Act 1972 s.111)
41 WEBSITE WORKING PARTY MEETING HELD ON 6TH AUGUST,

2002 Members received and considered the Notes of the Website Working Party Meeting held on 6th August, 2002.

Cllr. Savage informed members that the address of the website at present containing Town Council information should read, http://www.maldon.info/maldontc.

RESOLVED: that (a) the website address be amended to read, http://www.maldon.info/maldontc;

(b) in all other respects the Notes of the Website Working Party Meeting held on 6th August, 2002 be noted.
42.

42.1
TOWN HALL

Booking

Members were informed that CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) had applied to use the Town Hall for a Maldon Beer Festival over the period, Thursday 24th April to Saturday 26th April, 2003. It was reported that CAMRA events were very well organised and as this date coincided with the Easter Holiday the only regular hirer that would be inconvenienced would be the Karate Club who had subsequently been contacted and confirmed that they would be prepared to have a break that week.

It was noted that hire charges of approximately £500 would be received from this booking.

The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 7.45 p.m. for the representative from CAMRA to answer members' questions regarding the implications of a Beer Festival in the Town Hall.

The Chairman re-convened the meeting at 7.55 p.m.

Discussion ensued and members agreed that subject to the appropriate licences being obtained, it be

RECOMMENDED: that the booking by CAMRA for a Beer Festival in the Town Hall from 24th April - 26th April 2003 be approved.
42.2 Hire Charges

Further to minute 31 of the Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting held on 23rd July, 2002 members received a revised report regarding Town Hall hire charges which showed:

(i) present charges
(ii) charges for other halls within the District and details of when their charges were last reviewed.

Members recalled that the report circulated at the meeting held on 23rd July, 2002 had suggested that the charges remain the same and be reviewed again in July, 2003.

Discussion ensued and Cllr. Mrs Curtis proposed and Cllr. Roberts seconded that the charges remain the same and be reviewed again after 12 months.

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Hall hire charges remain unchanged and be reviewed after 12 months.
42.3 Baseline on Ice

Further to minute 48.5(a) of the Town Council meeting held on 5th August 2002 members reconsidered whether to hold a Baseline Ice-Skating event in the Town Hall at a cost of £500. Members were informed that the only available date prior to Christmas was Saturday, 16th November, 2002.

RECOMMENDED: that a Baseline Ice-Skating event be held in the Town Hall on Saturday, 16th November, 2002 at a cost of £500.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.144)
42.4 Carpet Cleaning

Further to minute 54.1 of the Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2001 members recalled that it had been agreed that the Foyer carpet should be cleaned twice a year and this had last been undertaken in November, 2001. Members noted that the stairs, landing, Conference Room and Office carpets had never been cleaned and members were requested to consider a quotation in the sum of £233.99 plus VAT from Chem-Dry to clean all carpets in the Town Hall.

RESOLVED: that the quotation in the sum of £233.99 plus VAT from Chem-Dry of Maldon to clean all the carpets in the Town Hall be accepted.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.133)
42.5 Electricity

Further to minute 98.1 of the Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting held on 25th February, 2002 members recalled that it had been agreed that further investigations should be undertaken regarding the Council's electricity charges. In this respect members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk and a graph prepared by the Chairman regarding Town Council electricity charges for the period January to December, 2001. The report detailed that substantial savings of approximately £2000 per year could be obtained from the current supplier should it be agreed to pay electricity charges by Direct Debit.

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Council takes out a two year contract with TXU Energi based on Direct Debit payments.
42.6 Stage Curtains

Members were informed that one section of curtain from the front stage pelmet had been ripped as a result of a curtain hook being caught. The Handyman had been able to take the section down and members received and considered a quotation from Professional Curtains Incorporated in the sum of £145.60 for a replacement pelmet.

Cllr. Savage informed members that the Pantomime Society had noticed that another curtain was damaged at the rear of the stage.

Discussion ensued and the Chairman suggested that Cllr. Savage and the Town Clerk undertake an inspection of the stage area and that a report be submitted to the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting to be held on 14th October, 2002. RESOLVED: that (a) the quotation in the sum of £145.60 from Professional Curtains Incorporated for a replacement pelmet be accepted;
(Local Government Act 1972 s.133).

(b) Cllr. Savage and the Town Clerk undertake an inspection of the Town Hall stage area and submit a report to the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting to be held on 14th October, 2002.
42.7 Roof Leak

Further to the letter dated 8th August, 2002 circulated to all members of the Council, the Town Clerk informed members that Bakers of Danbury Ltd. had now inspected the Town Hall roof which had leaked as a result of the heavy rain on Saturday, 3rd August , 2002 and had found it necessary to undertake mastic repairs to the roof.

Members felt that a letter should be forwarded to the Town Hall Architect and Builder informing them that due to recurring leakage problems it had been necessary for repairs to be undertaken on the Town Hall roof. Members agreed that it was essential that the situation should be monitored.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) letters be forwarded to the Town Hall Architect and Builder informing then that it had been necessary for repairs to be undertaken to the Town Hall roof;

(b) the Town Hall roof be monitored for leakage.
42.8 Pantomime Society

Members were informed that the Pantomime Society were now storing some of their Back Drops under the stage and that a Plume School pupil was designing the sets for their next production and would be painting the scenery as part of her A Level project.

Cllr. Savage informed members that the paints and drops were made from inflammable materials.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 42.9 Cinema Equipment

At the conclusion of this item Cllr. Bannister enquired as to the up-to-date situation regarding the purchase of new Cinema Equipment. The Town Clerk reported that applications for financial assistance had now been forwarded to the Maldon District Council and Awards for All, Lottery Grants.
 43

43.1
MOOT HALL

Quinquennial Report

Further to minute 70 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 27th November, 2001, members were informed that a Quinquennial Inspection of the Moot Hall had been undertaken by David Whymark and a copy of the subsequent report was circulated to all members of the Town Council.

The Chairman expressed the view that the Inspection Report needed to be analysed to consider the following:
¨ the order in which the proposed work should be undertaken,
¨ if the Handyman could undertake some of the work,
¨ whether the services of a professional consultant were required
¨ whether Grant Funding could be available for the work

It was suggested that, due to the complexity of the report, it would be beneficial for a Working Party to be formed and the Chairman asked for nominations to sit on a Moot Hall Working Party.

RECOMMENDED: that Cllrs. Thain, Roberts and Mrs. Riesebeck serve on the Moot Hall Working Party to review the Quinquennial Inspection Report regarding the Moot Hall and that a report be submitted for consideration prior to the annual Estimate meeting.
 43.2 Moot Hall Tours

Further to minute 24.3 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 17th June, 2002 members were informed that, after a meeting with the Chairman and Mayor, it had been agreed that Mr. John Richardson, Maeldune Centre Assistant would undertake tours of the Moot Hall when Mrs. M. Bullivant was unable to do so.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 43.3 "A" BOARD

Members considered the purchase of an "A" Board for use outside the Moot Hall to publicise tours of the building and recalled that an "A" Board purchased for use at the Town Hall had previously been purchased at a cost £129.00.

The Chairman stated that he had recently conducted a Moot Hall tour and he felt that it was essential that tours be visually publicised to attract more visitors to the Moot Hall.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that an "A" Board for use at the Moot Hall be purchased at a cost of £129.00. (Local Government Act 72, s. 133)
 44. ST MARY'S CHURCHYARD, MALDON - NORTH BOUNDARY WALL

Further to minute 111 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd April, 2002 members recalled that it had been reported that a briar was growing in the north boundary wall of St. Mary's Churchyard causing damage to the brickwork. As a result of quotations for its removal and consequent brickwork repairs being sought, information had been received that the briar had grown and was causing more damage to the wall. In view of this the Chairman and Vice-Chairman had authorised that the necessary works in the sum of approximately £210.00 be undertaken as soon as possible.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted. (Local Government Act 1972. S.215)
 45. PLUME BUILDING AND ST. PETER'S TOWER - MAINTENANCE REPAIRS

Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk regarding additional maintenance repairs to the Plume Building and St. Peter's Tower which were to be undertaken by Bakers of Danbury as a result of the Quinquennial Report.

RESOLVED: that the additional works to be undertaken by Bakers of Danbury to the Plume Building in the sum of £1,196.00 be authorised and financed from Plume Building Structural budget. (Essex Act 1987 s.48)
 46. DISABILITY ACCESS - PLUME BUILDING AND MOOT HALL

Further to minute 33 of the Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting held on 23rd July, 2002, members of the Committee received details of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 - Rights of Access to Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises and noted that this information could also be obtained at the following website: www.disability.gov.uk.

The Chairman reminded members that the Act stated that reasonable access for disabled persons should be made available to premises which were the Town Council's responsibility. In this respect it was noted that the Moot Hall and the upper floor of the Plume Building both had restricted disabled access. The Town Clerk informed members that the Plume Library Trustees had requested a meeting with the Town Council to discuss disabled access to the Plume Library.

The view was expressed that due to the historic nature of the buildings it would be impossible to provide disabled access without seriously altering the external appearance of the buildings. It was also felt that, as both buildings were "Listed", it would be extremely difficult to provide such access even if funding was available. It was noted that the Act referred to "reasonable adjustments" and members felt that the complexity of the alterations which would be required to make the Moot Hall and Plume Library accessible could not be classed as reasonable.

The Chairman felt that the key word in the Act was "Service" and he expressed the view that the Town Council had specifically relocated its Offices to provide a service enabling disabled access to the offices and meeting room.

Discussion ensued and it was suggested that the Moot Hall Working Party should undertake a Risk Assessment of the Moot Hall.

RECOMMENDED: that the Moot Hall Working Party undertake a Risk Assessment of the Moot Hall in respect of disabled access to the building and a report be submitted to a future meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting.
47.

47.1
MAELDUNE TRUST

Minutes of a Maeldune Trust Meeting held on 18th July, 2002

Members received and considered the minutes of the Maeldune Trust meeting held on 18th July, 2002.

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Maeldune Trust meeting held on 18th July, 2002 be noted.
47.2 Joint Statement of Intent

Members received and considered a report and copy of the Joint Statement of Intent between the Maldon Town Council and the Maeldune Trust and recalled that at the Town Council meeting held on 5th August, 2002 the view was expressed that, "as the building was the responsibility of the Town Council, it would be in the Town Council's interest to be responsible for the fire alarm and that the terms and conditions of the lease should be reconsidered during the review." In this respect members considered the amendments to the Statement suggested by the Chairman of the Maeldune Trust and the Town Clerk.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that a revised copy of the Joint Statement of Intent including the amendments be submitted for consideration to the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September, 2002.
48. WHITE HORSE LANE PUBLIC CONVENIENCES

Members were informed that, as a result of the annual electrical inspection at the White Horse Lane Public Conveniences, a quotation in the sum of £136.00 plus VAT for remedial work had been received from Abco Electric Service Limited.

A question was raised regarding whether the main earth lead was the responsibility of the electricity supplier and the Town Clerk stated that she would raise this matter with Abco Electric Services Limited. Members agreed that, if the Town Clerk was satisfied with the response, the quotation be approved.

RESOLVED: that subject to a satisfactory response regarding the main earth lead, the quotation in the sum of £136.00 plus VAT from Abco Electric Service Limited be approved. (Local Government Act 1972 s.)
49. PARISH AND TOWN PLAN GRANTS

Members received and considered a letter from Stuart Elrick, Head of Corporate Service, Maldon District Council regarding an update from the Countryside Agency on the availability of grants and detailing grants offered to Parish and Town Councils from the commencement of the programme in April 2001 until 31st July 2002.

The Chairman felt that it would be beneficial for all members to discuss and reflect on the different ways in which other organisations had utilised grants and to consider suitable projects for Maldon. He therefore suggested that this matter be referred to the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September, 2002.

RESOLVED: that the information regarding Parish and Town Grants be submitted to the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September, 2002.
50. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Members were informed that as a result of the success of the 2001 Victorian Evenings, the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce had forwarded a cheque for £350.00 towards the cost of the Christmas Lights and that a letter of thanks had been forwarded to the Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
The meeting closed at 8.32 p.m.

Councillor Steven Thain
Chairman

Signed…………………………………………….. Date…………………………..



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