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Maldon, Essex,  CM9 4RL.

MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON MONDAY 14th OCTOBER, 2002 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr P. Rew
Vice 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, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
Absent: Cllr. M. Bentley
 50. AN APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Cllr. S. Thain who was representing the Town Council at another meeting.
 51. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 3RD SEPTEMBER, 2002

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd September, 2002 be approved and adopted.
 52.

 52.1
FINANCIAL REPORTS

Receipts and Expenditure

Members received and considered:

a. Financial reports detailing receipts and expenditure for the period 1st April to 30th September, 2002.

b. A list of cheques and Standing Orders for supplies and services in excess of £500.00 from 1st August to 30th September, 2002.

It was noted that the expenditure in respect of the Carnival Day evening meal at Madison Heights did not include drinks; the Chairman said this had been slightly embarrassing as all visiting dignitaries had to purchase their own.

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;
 52.2 Courses / Conferences

Essex Association of Local Council's - "The Nuts and Bolts", One-Day Course

Members received and considered notification from the Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC) regarding a one day course entitled "The Nuts and Bolts" to be held at Foakes House, Great Dunmow on Friday, 15th November, 2002 for Councillors and Town Clerks. The cost per delegate was £37.00 per head including refreshments - 2 or more delegates at £33.00 each.

RECOMMENDED: that Cllr. W. Prior and the Town Clerk attend the EALC "Nuts and Bolts" one day course to be held at Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow at a total cost of £66.00. (LGA 1972 s.175)
  . b. Action for Market Towns

Members received and considered notification from Action for Market Towns of the following conferences:
Is Local Transport good for your Wealth? - Southam, Warwickshire, 30th October - £120;
Small Town Renaissance in the South East - Dorking, Surrey, 14th November - £53;
From Rags to Riches: Creating the Resources to Realise Your Vision - Winter Gardens, Ventnor, Isle of Wight - 14th March - £75.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 52.3 Town Centre Manager Office - Chamber of Trade & Commerce

Members received and considered a letter from the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce regarding the provision of office accommodation for the Town Centre Manager. It was noted that the rental for a single room office within the High Street, Maldon would be approximately £2,000 per annum.

In response to a question the Town Clerk provided the following information regarding the breakdown of the Town Centre Manager's funding:

Maldon Town Council                                  £10,500
Maldon District Council                               £ 8,000
Maldon Chamber of Trade & Commerce      £ 750
Total                                                            £ 19,250

Plus for use on special projects from the
Maldon Chamber of Trade & Commerce      £ 250

Discussion ensued and members expressed concern that the Town Council was currently financing the greater percentage of the Town Centre Manager's funding. It was felt that the Maldon District Council should be requested to increase their contribution to equal that of the Town Council; this additional sum would then allow for the provision of office accommodation for the Town Centre Manager.

RECOMMENDED: that the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce be advised that as the Town Council currently provide the greater percentage of the Town Centre Manager's funding no additional contribution will be provided and the Maldon District Council should be requested to increase their provision to equal that which was contributed by the Town Council.
 52.4 Delegated Power

Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk regarding delegated powers in respect of the payment of essential recurring accounts. In view of the fact that the Town Council was now responsible for the Town Hall, White Horse Lane Public Conveniences, the Plume Building and Moot Hall it was suggested that this authority should be extended to authorise the Town Clerk to pay all essential recurring accounts in respect of the running and general maintenance of all Council owned buildings. This would include telephone, electricity, salaries, tax, National Insurance, petty cash, quarterly lease payments for photo-copier and monthly charge for photo-copies, maintenance of all appliances within the above buildings, purchase of cleaning material and essential supplies.

It was noted that in accordance with the Town Council's Financial Regulations two Councillors and the Town Clerk sign cheques on receipt of appropriate invoices.

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Clerk be authorised to pay essential recurring accounts in respect of the running and general maintenance costs for all Town Council owned buildings.
 52.5 Essex County Council Pension Fund

Further to minute 35 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 23rd July, 2002 members received and considered a response from the Essex County Council regarding the ethical standards relating to the Essex County Council Pension Fund.

In response to a question the Town Clerk expressed the view that the County Council employed Officers to investigate ethical standards but felt that should members wish, Amnesty International could be invited to comment regarding the level of ethical standard currently being applied to pension fund investments.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 52.6 Mayoral Ribbons

Cllrs. Roberts and Rew declared an interest in this item and took no part in the discussion.

Members considered a request from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the purchase of new Mayoral ribbons for the Badges of Office as only one original ribbon remained and silk ribbons were not adequate for this purposes. A quotation from Michaels of Bristol in the sum of £18.00 per ribbon had been received and it was noted that a similar ribbon, purchased in 1990 from a different company, had cost £29.50.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that four Mayoral ribbons, in different colours, be purchased from Michaels of Bristol in the total sum of £72.00 plus VAT from budget head - Regalia for use by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. (LGA 1972 s.133)
 53 WEBSITE

Although not a members of the Committee Cllr. S. Savage declared an interest with regard to this item.

Further to minute 41 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd September, 2002 and the Notes of the Working Party meeting held on 6th August, 2002 members received and considered a report detailing responses from:

a. the Essex Association of Local Councils and Maldon District Council regarding the purchase of the maldontc.gov.uk domain name from which it was noted that the Maldon District Council were unable to host a website for the Town Council but had offered to include Town Council news on their site. A response from the Essex County Council was still awaited.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted and referred to the Website Working Party when the response from the Essex County Council has been received.

b. National Association of Local Councils providing clarification regarding the situation of Councillor Savage operating the website www.maldon.info/maldontc Members noted that as no payment would be made to Cllr. Savage his operation of the website could continue for the current municipal year. He could however, be reimbursed for any materials which were required to run the site.

Cllr. Rew stated that quotations would be sought for the operation of the website in the next municipal year.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 54.

 54.1
TOWN HALL

Stage Area Inspection

Further to minute 42.6(b) of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd September, 2002, members were informed that Cllr. S. Savage and the Town Clerk had undertaken an inspection of the Town Hall stage area.

During the inspection it had been observed that one or two of the bolts and screws securing the scenery bars etc. were loose. It would also be necessary to replace the fluorescent arrows on the backstage stairs leading to the changing rooms and one of the curtains had been slightly ripped and subsequently taped. In answer to a question the Town Clerk said that these works would cost no more than £150.00.

Cllr. Savage was of the opinion that it would be beneficial for the stage fitments to be professionally inspected on an annual or bi-annual basis. Discussion ensued and it was agreed that members should consider annually whether the stage area required to be inspected and it was

RESOLVED: that (a) Suffolk Scenery be requested to check the fixings at a cost of £100.00 plus VAT;

(b) additional fluorescent arrows be purchased;

(c) appropriate repairs be undertaken to the black stage curtain. (LGA 1972 s.133)
 54.2 Security Access System

Members received and considered a quotation from Access & Lock for the following work to be undertaken to the existing security system to improve the security of the building:

Camera

To supply and fit one extra camera to the existing CCTV system, the camera to be site in the foyer to view the double entrance doors. £395.00 Plus VAT

Door Buzzer

To supply and fit a door buzzer to the double front entrance doors with an on/off switch in the main office. £195.00 plus VAT

All equipment and material guaranteed for 12 months.

In response to a question the Town Clerk stated that it would not be necessary for an additional monitor to be purchased as the system enabled alternate images between the cameras to be viewed on the existing monitor.

Cllr. Prior enquired if a recording facility should be obtained if the camera were to be looking out onto the street and it was agreed that further investigations should be undertaken regarding the location of a camera within the foyer area.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the quotation in the sum of £590 plus VAT from Access & Lock to improve the security of the Town Hall be considered in conjunction with the 2003 - 2004 Estimates;

(b) further investigations be undertaken regarding the location of a camera in the foyer area and whether a recording facility should be included.
 55.

 55.1
MOOT HALL

Quinquennial Inspection Report

Further to minute 43 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd September, 2002 members received and considered the report of the Moot Hall Working Party on their inspection of the Moot Hall on Saturday, 5th October, 2002 in conjunction with the Quinquennial Report.

The extensive report prioritised the work to be undertaken during the next five years and members agreed that a five year plan required to be constructed to ensure that the finances were available to undertake the necessary work.

Reference was made to the fact that the sum of £6,000 was currently available under Estimate Head - Moot Hall Maintenance Fund. In view of this it was suggested that quotations be obtained for the priority "A" and "B" work in the hope that the majority of the work could be undertaken utilising the available funds.

Cllr. Mrs. Curtis felt that the Moot Hall Working Party should be thanked for the time involved in producing such a comprehensive report.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) quotations be sought for the work outlined in the report as priority "A" and "B" and be considered at a future meeting in conjunction with the £6,000 available in Estimates;

(b) a five year action plan for the work detailed in the report be drawn up and a ball park figure obtained for submission in conjunction with future Estimates;

(c) in all other respects the suggestions made by the Working Party be accepted. (Essex Act 1987 s.48)
 55.2 Moot Hall Clock

Further to the letter of the Town Clerk dated 2nd September, 2002 members noted that a quotation in the sum of £1,851 plus VAT had been received from Smiths of Derby to undertake the repairs to the Moot Hall clock and due to the urgency of this matter the Mayor and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee had authorised the work to proceed. It was hoped that the repairs would be completed by the end of November, 2002 in time for the Victorian Evenings. Members noted that an application had been submitted to the Insurance Company but further information regarding the vandalism had been requested. The insurance excess on the policy was £75.00.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk stated that the drawings of the clock hands received from a member of the public had been forwarded to Smiths of Derby.

RESOLVED: that the quotation from Smiths of Derby in the sum of £1,851 plus VAT be approved and the action of the Mayor and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee in authorising the work be ratified.
 55.3 Publicity

Members received and considered a quotation from Essex County Council, Tourism for the inclusion of information regarding the Moot Hall in the "Real Essex 2003" guide; a combined brochure containing information regarding attractions and accommodation in Essex.

The cost for the inclusion in the brochure was £25.00 plus VAT and it was noted that the information had been included in past editions of the publication.

RESOLVED: that the quotation from the Essex County Council, Tourism in the sum of £25.00 plus VAT for the inclusion of information regarding the Moot Hall in the "Real Essex 2003" guide be approved.
 56. ALL SAINTS' CHURCH - NORTH BOUNDARY WALL

Further to minute 7 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 20th May, 2002 members received and considered a report regarding the proposed repairs to All Saints' Churchyard North Boundary Wall.

In response to a question from Cllr. Shrimpton it was explained that the Town Council were responsible for all boundary walls within the town's Closed Churchyards which included All Saints', St. Mary's and St. Peter's Churchyards.

The Town Clerk stated that before the repairs proceeded any further it would be necessary for a meeting to be arranged with a representative of the Chelmsford Diocesan to discuss concerns regarding the Elder which was causing considerable problems to the wall and required to be removed. It was felt that investigations should also be undertaken with the Diocesan to enquire if it would be necessary for a Faculty to be obtained prior to the commencement of the work.

The Town Clerk informed members that the Maldon District Council had agreed to repair the railings in Church Walk whilst undertaking improvement works to the Church Walk footpath as part of the CAPS scheme.

Members expressed the view that as the Town Council were responsible for the maintenance of Closed Churchyards, which included the boundary walls and tombs, it would be helpful if these areas were to be inspected on a regular basis either by Councillors or the Handyman.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Town Clerk contacts the Tree Officer, Maldon District Council requesting his views in respect of the Conifer in the Vicarage garden; (Canon D. Atkins to be advised)

(b) the Ground Maintenance Contractor be asked for a quotation to remove the Elder from the wall;

(c) a site meeting be held with Canon Atkins and a representative of the Chelmsford Diocesan to discuss the Elder;

(d) quotations be obtained:
(i) to rebuild one section of the wall
(ii) for re-pointing the remaining section of the wall.

(e) Councillors or the Handyman undertake regular inspections of the Closed Churchyards within the Town. (Local Government Act 1972 s.215)
 57. PLUME BUILDING

Further to minute 45 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd September, 2002 members recalled that it had been agreed that additional works should be undertaken by Bakers of Danbury in the sum of £1,196.00. On commencement of this work it was noted that additional work was required to the Fire Escape at a cost of £183.00. Members were advised that until this work had been authorised there was no fire escape provision at the Plume Building.

RESOLVED: that the additional quotation from Bakers of Danbury for work to the Fire Escape at the Plume Building in the sum of £183.00 be approved.
(Essex Act 1987 s.48)
 58.

 58.1
MAELDUNE TRUST

Minutes of the meeting held on 29th August, 2002

Members received and considered the minutes of the Maeldune Trust meeting held on 29th August, 2002.

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Maeldune Trust meeting held on 29th August, 2002 be approved.
 58.2 Internal Structural Alterations

Further to 108 of the Special Town Council meeting held on 3rd December, 2001, members were informed that quotations had now been received by the Maeldune Trust in respect of the internal structural alterations to the Centre. Members recalled that a sum of £4,000 had been included in the 2002 / 03 Estimates for this work.

Discussion ensued and members were pleased to note that the total cost of the alternations were below the sum included in the 2002 / 2003 Estimates.

RESOLVED: that the quotations received from Maldon Glass and Terry Fleet for internal structural alterations to the Maeldune Centre be approved.
(Essex Act 1987)
 59. TWINNING PHOTOGRAPH

Members were informed that during the recent official Twinning visit to Cuijk a photograph of members of the Twinning Party and their hosts had been produced and presented to the Mayoress, Cllr Mrs Foster and other members of the Twinning Party. Cllr. Mrs Foster felt that it would be beneficial, to assist with the promotion of the Twinning Association within Maldon, for the photograph to be enlarged, framed and displayed within the Town Hall.

The view was expressed that items received on Twinning visits were usually displayed in the Mayor's Parlour at the Moot Hall. Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that no further action be taken.
 60. EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

RESOLVED: that pursuant to section 1 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1969, the meeting be not open to the public and press for the following items of business and they be instructed to withdraw.
 61.

 61.1
STAFFING MATTERS

Salaries Agreement 2002 / 03 - 2003 / 04

Members received notification that agreement had been reached by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services to a salary / wage increase of 3.0% in respect of the period 1st April, 2002 to 30th September 2002 and a further 1% for the period 1st October, 2002 to 31st March, 2003. It had also been agreed that there be a 3.5% increase for the period 1st April, 2003 to 31st March, 2004. It was noted that the Estimate provision for 2002 / 2003 would cover this increase and the appropriate provision would be included in the 2003 - 2004 Estimates.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 61.2 Staff Review

Members received and considered a report regarding the annual staffing review.

The Town Clerk and the Administrative Assistant retired from the room whilst the staff review was discussed.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Mayor, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee undertake a staff appraisal of the Town Clerk;

(b) provision be included within the 2003 / 2004 Estimates for the Town Clerk to receive an additional salary increment if she successfully completes the remaining two modules of the Local Policy Course;

(c) Mrs Grant's salary be amended to points 20 - 25 pro rate 30 hours commencing at point 22 from 1st April, 2003;

(d) there be no change at present regarding the employment of the Mayor's Secretary/Administrative Assistant, Public Convenience Attendants, part-time Town Hall Caretakers/Cleaners, Moot Hall Keeper and Tour Guides, Macebearer and part-time Handyman;

(e) any training course to be undertaken by staff is to be fully reviewed by Councillors;

(f) the staff attendance at meeting to be as follows:

Town Council                                                    Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
Finance and General Purposes Committee     one member of staff (Town Clerk)
Environment Committee                                   one member of staff
Planning Committee                                          one member of staff
Youth Council Working Party                          one member of staff

(g) all hours held by office staff as time in lieu to be taken by 31st March, 2003.
  . The meeting closed at 8.38 p.m.

Councillor Paul Rew
Chairman

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

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