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Maldon, Essex,  CM9 4RL.

MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 4th MAY, 2004 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr. Mrs. M. Curtis
Vice Chairman: Cllr. T. Shrimpton
Councillors: D. Keighley, I. Mackenzie, W. Prior, Mrs. S. Riesebeck,
S. Savage and K. Smith (Town Mayor)
In Attendance: The Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant.
 99. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr. T. Shrimpton, who was away on holiday and Cllr. Swallow.
 100. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 8TH MARCH, 2004

Members received and considered the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004.

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004 be approved and adopted.
 101.

 101.1
TOWN CLERK'S REPORT

Receipts and Expenditure

Members received and considered:

a. Financial reports detailing receipts and expenditure for the period 1st April 2003 to 31st March, 2004.

Cllr. Keighley made reference to several items on the report where payments and receipts differed considerably from the budget. These included the heading for Allotments, Miscellaneous, Maldon in Bloom and West Maldon Community Centre.

The Town Clerk explained that the Allotment Account was operated as a separate account with its own bank account and any funds remaining in the account at the end of the financial year were carried forward to the following year. The budget for allotments for the 2004/05 financial year had been agreed by members at the Special Council meeting held in December, 2003. With regard to the Maldon in Bloom heading, members were informed that although the expenditure exceeded the budget figure the receipts from donations for hanging baskets etc. more than covered the overspend. With regard to the West Maldon Community Centre members were reminded that it had been agreed that the Town Council would purchase items for their new extension so that the Community Association did not have to incur VAT. The reimbursement of this amount was included in the Miscellaneous receipts.

It was suggested that on future end of year reports it would be helpful for short explanations to be included with regard to any large anomalies from the budget.

In response to a question from Cllr. Prior regarding the period of time remaining in respect of the two loan repayments, the Town Clerk stated that as far as she was aware there were approximately 20 years remaining but she would confirm these details and report to members.

b. A list of cheques and Standing Orders for supplies and services in excess of £500 for March and April, 2004.

RESOLVED: that (a) the Town Clerk forwards explanations to members in respect of questions raised regarding the financial report;

(b) future end of year financial reports include short explanations regarding any large financial anomalies within the report;

(c) in all other respects the report attached as Appendix "A" to these minutes detailing receipts and expenditure be noted;

(d) the list of cheques and Standing Orders in excess of £500.00 be noted.
 102.2 Donations

Members were informed that there was £3,000 (£1,000 provisional sum for the Official Twinning visit from Cuijk) in the Donations Estimate Head for the 2004/05 financial year.

(i) Letters of Thanks
Further to minute 89.2 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004 members were informed that letters of thanks for donations had been received from the Maldon Carnival Association and Maldon Carers Centre.

RESOLVED: that the thank you letters from the Maldon Carnival Association and Maldon Carers Centre be noted.

(ii) Maldon Town Regatta Association
Members received and considered a grant application form from the Maldon Town Regatta Association requesting financial assistance of £500 towards this year's Regatta to be held on 18th September, 2004. Some members recalled that a donation of £200 had been made last year and the event had been a great success. A copy of their application form and accounts were circulated at the meeting for members' inspection.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that a donation of £250 be forwarded to the Maldon Town Regatta Association towards the 2004 Maldon Town Regatta.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.144)
 102.3 Subscriptions

a. Essex Association of Local Councils
Notification had been received that the annual renewal of membership to the Association for 2004/05 was £859.06 (£455.30 was payable to the National Association). Members noted that the subscription fee for 2003/04 had been £820.87 and that the service provided by both Associations was invaluable.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council renews its membership in the sum of £859.06 to the EALC for the 2004/05 financial year.
(Local Government Act 1972 s. 143)

b. Essex Playing Fields Association
Members were informed that a letter had been received from the Essex Playing Fields and Children's Play Association enquiring if the Town Council wished to become members of the Association at a fee of £25.00 per annum. It was noted that the Town Council had been members of this organisation during 2002 but had decided in October, 2003 not to re-join as the Town Council were not responsible for any playing fields within the town.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council does not become members of the Essex Playing Fields Association.
 102.4 Courses

Members were informed that notification had been received from the EALC regarding the following courses:

a. Stress Management Course - Thursday 20th May, 2004, Talberd Room, Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow at a cost of £59.00 per delegate.

b. "Financial Risk Management & Internal Audit - Tuesday, 25th May, 2004, Foakes
Hall, Great Dunmow at a cost of £39.00 per delegate. It was noted that the Town Clerk wished to attend this course.

c. Staff Motivation & Managing Difficult Staff Course - Friday, 18th June, 2004, Talberd Room, Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow at a cost of £65.00 per delegate.

d. Handling Appraisals and Disciplinary Matters Course - Thursday, 1st July, 2004, Talberd Room, Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow at a cost of £65.00 per delegate. It was noted that the Town Clerk wished to attend this course.

RESOLVED: that the Town Clerk attends the following EALC courses to be held at Great Dunmow at a total cost of £104.00:

(i) Financial Risk Management and Internal Audit Course - 25th May, 2004

(ii) Handling Appraisals and Disciplinary Matters Course - 1st July, 2004
(Local Government Act 1972 s.175)
 102.5 Display Board

Further to a recent meeting of the Maeldune Trust members recalled that it had been agreed that the Trust would purchase a mini table display stand for the sum of £149.00 plus VAT. The firm who provided the stand had mistakenly forwarded an additional display board and had subsequently offered the second one to the Town Council for a reduced cost of £80.00 plus VAT. In this respect members considered whether the Town Council should purchase the display board which was available at the meeting for inspection.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council purchases the mini table display stand at a cost of £80.00 plus VAT.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.144)
 103. WEBSITE WORKING PARTY MEETING

Members received and considered the Notes of the Website Working Party meeting held on 27th April, 2004.

Cllr. Savage made the following comments regarding these notes:

Page 2
2nd paragraph from the bottom - the word "not" be deleted from the last sentence;

4th paragraph from the bottom the words - "Missing Kids Link" should be inserted after Metropolitan Police;

Cllr. Savage also advised that a .gov site was not now at the top of the search engine list.

Cllr. Keighley expressed concern regarding the limited number of Website Working Party meetings which had been arranged during the past year. The Chairman stated that this was due to the fact that, despite numerous requests for members to serve on this Working Party up until December, 2003 only two members, Cllrs. Prior and Savage, had agreed to serve. In view of this matters regarding the website had been discussed at meetings of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Lengthy discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that (a) the following amendments be made to page 2:
2nd paragraph from the bottom of the page - the word "not" be deleted;
4th paragraph from the bottom of the page - the words "Missing Kids Link" be inserted after Metropolitan Police;

(b) in all other respects the Notes of the Website Working Party meeting held on 27th April, 2004 be approved and adopted.
 104

 104.1
MOOT HALL WORKS

Report of the Town Clerk

Further to minute 98 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004 members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk (copy circulated to all members of the Council) regarding the current situation in respect of the refurbishment works to the Moot Hall. Members noted that three members had toured the Moot Hall on Sunday, 28th March, 2004 to view the required work and they were of the opinion that it would be very difficult to break-down the tender as the majority of the work would require the use of scaffolding.

Members recalled that the Tenders received for the work ranged from £114,532 - £128,860 and did not include the "C" items contained within the Quinquennial Report i.e. repairs to columns in the High Street and were informed that an estimate for this work was being sought. It was also noted that members had previously expressed the view that the works contained within the Quinquennial Report in respect of the Moot Hall should be undertaken prior to the end of this term of office. The Town Clerk reported and that an application for Lottery Funding had now been received within the office.

RESOLVED: that the report of the Town Clerk regarding Moot Hall works be noted and a further report submitted when the estimate has been received in respect of the columns.
 104.2 Questions from Cllr. Keighley

At the request of Cllr. Keighley members received the following list of questions for written answer by the Chairman of the Committee:

a. Is the Maldon Town Council the sole and beneficial owner of the Moot Hall?
b. Are there any covenants, legal restrictions or contingent liabilities attaching to the Moot H
c. What are the statutory obligations of a Grade 1 Listed property owner?
d. What was the income of the Moot Hall in the financial years ending 2002, 2003 and 2004?
e. What were the costs incurred in respect of the Moot Hall under Budget Heading Folios P1.1 to P1.12 in the same years?
f. To what uses is the Moot Hall currently being put?
g. What benefits do Maldon Town residents derive from ownership of the Moot Hall?
h. How much was spent on essential repairs to the Moot Hall in each year since the last five-year revue?
i. Assuming that the eventual cost of repairs to the Moot Hall amount to £175,000, what would be the increase in Council Tax payable by a Band D tax payer if all the work was carried out and paid for
(i) during the financial year 2005/06
(ii) by a loan repayable over the next five financial years?
(As the Tax Base is an unknown variable, use the 2004/05 figure as a constant in the calculations)

Members were informed that a written reply was being composed and that a copy of the reply would be circulated to all members for information.

RESOLVED: that the questions of Cllr. Keighley be noted and the response of the Chairman of the Committee be circulated to all members for information.
 105.

 105.1
PLUME BUILDING

Sundial

Further to minute 76 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 21st January, 2004 members were informed that investigations had been undertaken for the removal of the sundial from the building and because of the sundial's present condition it had been suggested that the work should be undertaken by a specialist. In view of this, Westwood Dials, Mundon had been contacted and members received and considered their quotation to remove the sundial for storage in the Town Hall. It was noted that the same price would apply to replace the sundial.

Members were informed that a Lottery Application had now been submitted in respect of the refurbishment of St. Peter's Churchyard which included work to the sun-dial.

Discussion ensued regarding the quotation received and the fact that this probably included the hire of scaffolding equipment. It was suggested that to reduce the cost, scaffolding stored by the Pantomime Society under the stage in the Town Hall could possibly be used. Concern was expressed regarding who would be liable for the scaffolding should the Town Council erect it themselves and a problem arose.

It was suggested that a breakdown of the quotation from Westwood Dials be sought.

Cllr. Mackenzie stated that he would provide the name of a local conservationist who may be able to advise on the refurbishment work to the sundial.

RECOMMENDED: that a breakdown of the quotation from Westwood Dials be sought.
 105.2 Blue Plaque

Members received and considered a letter from the Chairman of The Maldon Society (copy circulated to all members) regarding a proposal to install a Blue Plaque on the St. Peter's Tower (the Plume Building) to commemorate Dr. Thomas Plume, his school and his library.

In response to a question, members were informed that a request to install a Blue Plaque on St. Peter's Tower had previously been refused by the Town Council as the Town Council would not have been acknowledged on the plaque for the maintenance of the building.

Discussion ensued and the view was expressed that, the Town Council should approve the wording to be included on a Blue Plaque and it was

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon Society stating that the Town Council wish to have details of the wording to be included on a Blue Plaque at St. Peter's Tower.
 106. TOWN HALL - ENTRANCE DOORS

Further to minute 104.1 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 1st April. 2003 members recalled that it had been recommended that investigations be undertaken regarding improved disabled access to the Town Hall to enable conformation with the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 (DDA). In this respect members received and considered three quotations for the supply and installation of automatic opening doors to the main external entrance to the Town Hall.

Members were reminded that £8,000 had been included in Estimates for General Maintenance Fund, £1,725 of which had been allocated for works to the stage and hall floor.

It was noted that only one of the quotations included automatic doors for the rear entrance to the building.

The Town Clerk informed members that she had attended a meeting arranged by the District Council regarding the Disability Discrimination Act where one of the companies who had supplied a quotation had been recommended.

Reference was made to the fact that the DDA refers to "reasonable" adjustments and it was suggested that the Essex Disabled Peoples Association be contacted to ascertain the cost of an access audit of the Town Hall being undertaken. The Town Clerk stated that such a survey would cover all aspects of disability not just access.

It was also suggested that the Maldon District Council be contacted to enquire if they could offer any advice on improving access for the disabled to public buildings. RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Essex Disabled Peoples Association be contacted to ascertain the cost of an Access Audit being undertaken in respect of the Town Hall; (b) the Maldon District Council be contacted to enquire if they could offer any advice on improved access for the disabled to public buildings.
 107. COURSE - LAW AND PROCEDURERS

Further to minute 89.4(b) of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004 members received the report of Cllr. Savage (copy circulated at the meeting) on the Essex Training Partnership "Law and Procedures" course which he and Cllrs. Mrs. Riesebeck and Shrimpton had attended on Wednesday, 28th April, 2004 at Foakes House, Great Dunmow.

He said the course had been very interesting and felt that a number of issues should be considered further at a future meeting of the Quality Status Working Party.

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck informed members that a copy of her notes regarding the meeting were available for inspection should any member wish to view them.

RECOMMENDED: that the report of Cllr. Savage regarding the Law and Procedures course be noted.
 108. YOUTH FACILITIES FUNDING 2004 / 2005

Members received and considered a letter from The Community Safety Facilitator, Maldon District Community Safety Partnership (copy circulated to all members of the Council) regarding an allocation of £19,800 from the Home Office for Youth Facilities Funding 2004/05.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the view of the Maldon Youth Council should be sought regarding this matter. Members noted that a Gazebo/Shelter had been installed at Longfields as a youth meeting place. It was also noted that any grants made from this fund would have to be Match Funded but it was pointed out that this could be on a volunteer basis.

Cllr. Keighley felt that funding for youth facilities was in the hands of the Maldon District Council and the Essex County Council.

RECOMMENDED: that the letter from the Community Safety Facilitator be forwarded to the Maldon Youth Council.
 109. MALDON BUSINESS GUIDE

Members were informed that notification had been received from Point Publishing, Maldon regarding their proposed publication of a Maldon Business Guide which was to be delivered to 6000 homes in Maldon and Heybridge and printed on a six monthly basis. Members considered whether they wished to place a Moot Hall advertisement in the Maldon Business Guide.

A copy of the Braintree edition of the Guide was available for inspection at the meeting and the Chairman showed members a copy of the Maldon edition which she had recently received.

Discussion ensued and members felt that the Guide was aimed at the business community and would not be of benefit to the Town Council.

RESOLVED: that no further action be taken regarding this matter.
 110

 110.1
CINEMA

Pirates of the Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl

Further to minute 91.2 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004 members were reminded that "Pirates of the Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl" was being shown on Friday, 7th May, 2004 commencing at 8.00 p.m.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 110.2 Calendar Girls

Members were informed that 93 people had attended the showing of Calendar Girls which had been held on Sunday, 21st March, 2004.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 111. STAFF - MOOT HALL TOUR GUIDE

Members were informed that Ms. J. Miller had been appointed Part-time Moot Hall Tour Guide. In answer to a question the Town Clerk reported that the previous part-time Moot Hall Tour Guide had returned to full-time teaching.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 112. QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

There were no questions from the Press and Public.
   Councillor Mrs Mary Curtis
Chairman

The Chairman closed the meeting at 8.46.p.m.

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



ITEMS   (copy, report herewith)  are available for inspection at the Town Hall during normal office hours.

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