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Maldon Town Council

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Maldon Town HallMaldon Town Hall

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

MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 25th NOVEMBER, 2003 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr. Mrs. M. Curtis
Vice Chairman: Cllr. T. Shrimpton
Councillors: I. Mackenzie, W. Prior, Mrs. S. Riesebeck,
S. Savage and K. Smith (Town Mayor).
In Attendance: Cllr. D. Keighley, a member of the press, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant.
   The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded Cllr. Keighley that although he was able to take part in any discussion he would be unable to vote.

Before the commencement of the meeting, Cllr. Keighley informed members that in accordance with the Town Council's Financial Regulations, each Committee should formulate and submit proposals to the Council in respect of revenue and capital costs for the following financial year not later that 31st October of each year.

In response the Town Clerk said that this date was too early as the figure regarding the District Council tax base had only just been received.

Cllr. Keighley stated that as the Town Council were then not abiding precisely to their rules and perhaps the Financial Regulations should be reviewed. The Town Clerk stated that she would investigate this issue.
 55. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies for absence.
 56. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 15TH OCTOBER, 2003

Members received and considered the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003.

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003 be approved and adopted.
 57.

 57.1
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 October, 2003.

In response to a question, the Vice Chairman of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party stated that the Maldon In Bloom budget head figure was lower than that of the payments as income had also been received from the donations made by retailers who had hanging baskets on their premises which was indicated on the Income section of the report.

b. A list of cheques and Standing Orders for supplies and services in excess of £500.00 for October, 2003.

c. Members noted that the invoice had been received from the Maldon District Council for the third quarter payment in respect of the Town Centre Manager i.e. £2,650.00

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 third quarter payment in respect of the Town Centre Manager in the sum of £2,625.00 be noted.
 58.2 Donations

Members were reminded that a sum of £2,000 had been included in the 2003/04 Estimates for donations and it had been agreed at the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 3rd March, 2003 that:

- £1,200 from 2001/02 be carried over to support the Plume School's bid for Performing Arts Status which had now been forwarded to the Plume School.

- the remaining £1,326 at the end of the 2002/03 financial year be carried over to allow further consideration of applications from The Dengie Project Trust and Maldon District Handicapped Children's Association.

Members were informed that to date the following donations had been made:

Maldon District Handicapped Children's Association   £650.00
Dengie Project Trust Mental Health Forum                    £ 50.00
Maldon Town Regatta                                                      £200.00
Essex Disabled People's Association                               £300.00
Farleigh at St. Clare's Hospice                                         £250.00
Maldon and District Neighbour Mediation Service        £500.00

The sum of £1376.00 remained and member considered the following:

(i) Maldon & District Neighbour Mediation Service (MDNMS)

Further to minute 46.2(I) of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003 members noted that a thank you letter had been received from the Mediation Service in respect of the donation of £500. They also offered to make a short presentation regarding the Mediation Service to members if required.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that the Maldon and District Mediation Service be invited to make a presentation at the Annual Town Meeting to be held on 7th April, 2004.

(ii) Plume Sixth Form College

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck declared a personal interest in this item.

Members were informed that a grant application form had been received from pupils of the Plume Sixth Form College for financial assistance to assist in hosting a Christmas Party for 100 Senior Citizens. It was envisaged that the total cost would be £350.00 and a copy of the application form was available for inspection at the meeting. It was noted that last year a donation of £150 had been forwarded to the Sixth Form College to assist with a similar party.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that a donation of £150.00 be forwarded to the Plume Sixth Form College for the Senior Citizens Christmas Party. (Local Government Act 1972 s.145)

(iii) Oak Tree Meadow Community Group

Members received and considered a letter and grant application form from the Oak Tree Meadow Community Group and additional details, including plans, were circulated at the meeting.

Discussion ensued and as the site was outside the Town boundary it was

RESOLVED: that the Town Council do not make a donation to the Oak Tree Meadow Community Group.

 58.3 Membership - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Members received notification from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) that the Town Council's subscription was due for renewal at a cost of £25.00.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council renews it membership to the Campaign to Protect Rural England for the sum of £25.00.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.143)
 58.4 Publication - Local Councils Update

Members were informed that details had been received of a monthly publication for Councils Clerks and Members entitled Local Councils Update. Topics to be covered included, New legislation - Parliamentary Consultation Papers - Finance - Audit Accounts - Health & Safety - Clerks Salaries - Members Allowances - Planning - Borrowing Liabilities - Areas of Responsibility - Standards Board Issues - Court Rulings and Appeal Decisions. The annual subscription fort his publication was £60.00.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council subscribes to the Local Councils Update, for a one year trail period, for an annual subscription of £60.00.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.111)
 59.

 59.1
CONFERENCES / COURSES

Essex Training Partnership - Council Finance Course - Thursday, 4th December, 2003

Members were informed that notification had been received from the Essex Training Partnership regarding a Finance Course to be held on Thursday, 4th December, 2003 at Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow between 9.30 and 3.30 p.m. at a cost of £39.00 per delegate. This course will give an overview of the legislation governing the finances of local councils and an update on recent developments.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that should a member wish to attend this course they advise the Town Clerk.
 59.2 Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC) - Meeting the Challenge Conference - Wednesday, 28th January, 2004

Notification had been received from the EALC of a one day "Meeting the Challenge" Conference to be held on Wednesday, 28th January, 2004 at Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow between 10.00 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. at a cost of £45.00 per delegate. The following speakers would be appearing at the conference:

Lord Hanningfield - Presentation to the Quality Council of Essex
Steve Hopkins - Chief Executive of Staffordshire County Council and Local Government Association - Parish Charters
John Findlay - Chief Executive - NALC Current Developments in the Sector and Government
Tim Ricketts - Head of Legal Services - NALC - Allowances and how this effects parish and town councils.

Members were requested to consider whether they wished to attend this Conference and were informed that the Town Clerk would like to attend.

RESOLVED: that Cllrs. Prior and Shrimpton and the Town Clerk attend the EALC, "Meeting the Challenge" Conference to be held on 28th January, 2004 at Great Dunmow at a total cost of £130. (Local Government Act 1972 s.111)
 59.3 Crime and Disorder Issues Affecting the Elderly Residents of Maldon

Further to minute 48 of the Finance and General Purposes committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003 Cllrs. Mrs. Riesebeck and Shrimpton reported on their attendance at the Conference held on 31st October, 2003. It was also noted that Cllrs. Keighley, Prior and Savage were also in attendance.

Cllr. Shrimpton informed members that it had been an extremely interesting course and dealt with elderly peoples' perception of the amount of crime in the town. Many elderly residents believed that the town was a crime black spot but infact the town's crime rate had decreased.

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck informed members that the workshop she had attended concerned the accidents which the elderly had at home and their subsequent recovery from such accidents. The workshop looked at the prevention of accidents and delegates had been informed that the most vulnerable people were those who were too afraid to leave the confines of their homes and subsequently became isolated. It had been noted that those people who attended groups, clubs and luncheon clubs were more well informed and confident. Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck had found the course most interesting.

The Chairman thanked Cllrs. Mrs. Riesebeck and Shrimpton for their reports.

RESOLVED: that the reports of Cllrs. Mrs. Riesebeck and Shrimpton regarding Crime and Disorder Issues Affecting the Elderly Residents of Maldon be noted.
 60. WEBSITE

Cllr. Savage declared a personal interest in this item.

Members received and considered a letter and information from The Local Channel regarding their expanding England-wide network of community websites which would assist promoting "e-Government". The Local Channel offer a free online network which it was envisaged could actively engage with the local community.

Cllr. Savage informed members that he had looked at this site on a number of occasions and had found little relevant information available on the sites. He felt that the concept was good but, as yet, he would not recommend that the Town Council considers contributing to the site.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 61. ALL SAINTS' NORTH BOUNDARY WALL

Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk regarding the North Boundary Wall, All Saints' Churchyard. The report detailed the recent history in respect of the wall repairs which included the specification for the repairs to the wall including a mortar specification which had been submitted to all contractors who had tendered for the wall repairs. Members were informed that after the work to the wall had been completed that it had been brought to the attention of the Town Clerk that the mortar used for the repairs was not as had been specified and its use could, over a number of years, cause damage to the bricks.

The contractor had subsequently been contacted and he had confirmed that the incorrect mortar had been used to repair the wall.

Cllr. Keighley said that he had spoken to Canon Atkins regarding this matter who had indicated that he did not wish for any further work to be undertaken to the wall as he had recently replanted the area of his garden which adjoined the wall.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that a watching brief be kept on the repairs to the wall whilst the wall was still under its guarantee period of six years from the completion date of the repairs. (amended at the Town Council meeting held on 15th December, 2003 - minute 114.5 refers)
 62.

 62.1
CINEMA

Projector Stand

Further to minute 37 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th September, 2003 members received and considered a quotation to supply a projector stand in the sum of £420 plus VAT. A copy of the design, drawn by Cllr. Savage, was circulated at the meeting for members' inspection.

In response to a question Cllr. Savage stated that the level of the projector would be well above head height.

Cllr. Savage suggested that a second quotation should be obtained for the projector stand and was agreed that on receipt of the quotation the lowest quotation be accepted for the supply of the projector stand.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a second quotation for a projector stand be obtained;

(b) on receipt of a second quotation the lowest quotation for a projector stand be accepted.
 62.2 Film Shows

Further to minute 37 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th September, 2003 members were informed that the following films had been shown in the Town Hall:

(i) Walt Disney's "Treasure Planet" - Saturday, 1st November, 2003
31 people had attended and the total sum of £62 had been taken in admission fees.

(ii) "Lawless Heart"- Sunday, 23rd November, 2003
146 people had attended and the total sum of £292 had been taken in admission fees.

Cllr. Keighley thanks the Town Council and Cllr. Savage for running the film show and he felt that most people had enjoyed the showing.

The Town Clerk advised members that notification had been received that it was not necessary for the Town Council to obtain a Cinemographic Licence to show films in the Town Hall.

In response to a question regarding the showing of films which would be of interest to youths members were informed that the film, "Sixth Sense" which the Youth Council had felt that would be suitable for youths had been screened during an evening and the attendance to this film had been very poor. It was felt that the screening of the first and second "Lords of the Rings" films would be ideal testers for attracting young people to attend film shows in the Town Hall.

It was suggested that investigations should be undertaken to show the film "Zulu" on the anniversary of the siege on Sunday, 25th January, 2004.

RESOLVED: that (a) investigations be undertaken regarding the showing of the film "Zulu" 25th January, 2004;

(b) the information regarding attendance at film shows be noted.
 63.

 63.1
TOWN HALL

Security

Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk regarding the Town Hall security system. The report stated that as a result of a number of false alarms with regard to the burglar alarm in the Town Hall, notification had been received that the Police response had been withdrawn. The Alarm Receiving Centre continued to advise keyholders but at present anyone called out was not met on site by the Police.

In order for the Police response cover to be reinstated the alarm system required to be upgraded so that it was capable of signalling confirmed alarms. Details of the upgrade were included within the report and a quotation for the suggested work, which included an upgrade to the control panel, would be £1,526.46.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk said that the false alarms had been caused by spiders.

It had also been recommended that the Town Council takes out a BT "Total Care" maintenance contract which provided guaranteed 24 hour line fault response, 365 days a year at a cost of £36.00 per annum.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the quotation to update the burglar alarm system, in the sum of £1,526.46 be accepted and the expenditure for this be vired from Budget Head "Solicitors Fees"'

(b) the Town Council takes out a BT "Total Care" maintenance contract for the sum of £36.00 per annum.
 63.2 Hall Hire

Further to minute 76.1 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 13th January, 2003 members recalled that it had been agreed that the Happy Hour Club and Friendship Club should pay a discounted hire fee of £8.00 per session for the hire of the Conference Room for their Club meetings throughout 2003.

In view of the increases in Town Hall hire charges members were requested to consider whether this fee should be increased to £10.00 per session as from 1st April, 2004. It was noted that the full hire charge for the Conference Room would be £15.00 per session.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that clubs for elderly residents of the town should be encouraged and in this respect it was

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Hall hire charges for the Happy Hour Club and Friendship Club for increased to £10.00 per session as from 1st April, 2004.
 63.3 Heater Covers

Members received and considered a report regarding a proposal to install heater guards to cover the wall heaters throughout the Town Hall. It was noted that this was necessary because there had been a few incidents where people were putting chairs etc. too close to the heaters and they had become very warm. To comply with Health & Safety and the risk assessment, quotations had been sought for heater guards to be constructed and fixed over 25 heaters with were located in the areas used by members of the public. In this respect members received two quotations to supply and fit heater guards. Members noted that although there was not sufficient funding in the Budget Head - Community Hall General Maintenance Fund, the funds could be vired from Budget Head - Market Hill Garden Planting.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that it was only necessary for heater guards to be installed in the main hall (8 no.) and the type chosen should conform to Local Authority and Hospital standard and in this respect it was

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation from Variaplan in the sum of £1808.00 to supply and fit 8 no. heater guards finished in white powder coating in the Main Hall be approved.
(Local Government Act )
 64. COMMUNITY LIGHTS - COMMUNITY GRANT SCHEME

Further to note 4(a) of the Christmas Lights Working Party meeting held on 10th June, 2003 members received and considered a report regarding an application submitted to the Maldon District Council requesting financial support to illuminate All Saints' Church for the Christmas period. Members recalled that the Christmas Lights contractor had provided a quotation to install four new flood lights, supply all cables, sockets, timer RCD trips, waterproof box and all ground works in the sum of £1,800 plus VAT. The contractor had also agreed that this budget could be paid over a two year period.

Members were informed that the sum of £900 from the Community Grant Scheme had been awarded and Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Mrs. Curtis attended a presentation evening at the District Council offices on 10th November, 2003 regarding the award.

In view of the timescale it had been suggested that it was too late for works to proceed in time for this Festive Season as negotiations regarding the installation of the flood lights would have to be undertaken with the Church and possibility the Diocesan, should the proposed fitting be considered as a permanent fixture.

Cllr. Prior informed member that he had received two complaints regarding the Christmas Lights.

RECOMMENDED: that no further action be taken with regard to the installation of external lighting at All Saints' Church this year but negotiations regarding the installtion be undertaken with All Saints' PCC at the beginning of the New Year.
 65. VICTORIAN EVENING

Members were informed that correspondence had been received from the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce requesting permission to erect a stage area at the seating area under the Holm Oak adjacent to St. Peter's Churchyard. Members recalled that in past years the Town Council had agreed to this request subject to the following conditions:

(a) all construction will comply with Health and Safety regulations;

(b) any damage caused to the seating area or boundary wall as a result of the construction of staging or its use will be the responsibility of the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce;

(c) the area will be marshalled when not in use;

(d) the stage construction will be dismantled after use both on 4th and 11th December, 2003.

Members noted that the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce had informed the Office that any surplus money from the Victorian Evenings would be split 50% to their nominated cause (Maldon in Bloom) and 50% towards the cost of the Christmas Lights.

RECOMMENDED: that the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce be informed that the Town Council have no objection to the erection of a stage area at the seating area under the Holm Oak adjacent to St. Peter's Churchyard subject to conforming with the conditions listed above.
 66. BASELINE SKATING EVENT

Members recalled that due to circumstances beyond their control Baseline had been unable to provide a skating event in Maldon during February, 2003. In view of this they had agreed to reduce their charge to £300.00 (normally £500) and they had attended the Town Hall on Saturday, 11th October, 2003. Members noted the following information regarding the event:

83 people attended the event @ a charge of £2.00 per 30 minute sessions £166

Sweets and drinks had been purchased for the event at a cost of £38.29 and a total of £40.14 had been taken. It was noted that the remaining sweets and drinks would be sold at forthcoming cinema events.

It was noted that all those who had attended the skating event had said that they had thoroughly enjoyed the event and the Baseline Operators also stated that they had been impressed with the parent participation.
 67. MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES / TRAVELLING

Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk, circulated to all members of the Town Council, regarding members' allowances/travelling and subsistence.
 67.1 Parish Basic Allowance - Regulation 25

The report stated that a Consultation Paper from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) had been circulated to all members of the Town Council with the agenda for the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003. At that time members were of the opinion that Parish and Town Councillors should be provided with the opportunity to obtain allowances to attend meetings and this view had been forwarded to the Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC) and DTLR.

Notification had now been received of the Local Authorities (Members' Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 which came into force on 1st May, 2003.

The Town Clerk informed members that the Maldon District Council had been contacted regarding the establishment of the Parish Remuneration Panel but they had stated that they would not be setting up a Parish Remuneration Panel as they already had an independent remuneration panel. Members noted that the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) were investigating this matter but it had been suggested that a neighbouring Authority which had a remuneration panel could be approached.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Council were not in favour of receiving an members allowance.
 67.2 Parish Travelling and Subsistence Allowance - Regulation 26

The report of the Town Clerk indicated that the present system for paying travelling and subsistence allowances (in accordance with the National Joint Council for Local Government Services) could continue until 31st December, 2003. Travelling and subsistence under the new regulations could be paid for travel and subsistence within the parish as well as outside of it.

Discussion ensued regarding the travel allowances which could be claimed when attending meetings on behalf of the Town Council and it was felt that allowances should only be claimed when members when representing the Town Council at meetings etc. outside the town boundary. In this respect it was

RECOMMENDED: that members' allowances in respect of Allowances and Parish Travelling and Subsistence Allowances should be paid in respect of the following categories:

(i) the attendance at an out of town meeting of an association of which the council was a members;

(ii) the carrying out of any duty outside the town, approved by the council, or any duty of a class so approved, or in connection with, the discharge of the functions of the authority or of any of its committees or sub committees.
 68.

 68.1
TOWN COUNCIL ESTIMATES 2004 - 2005

Charging Policy

In accordance with the 1997/98 Audit, members should annually review income charges and in this respect members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk was circulated to all members of the Town Council regarding the Town Council's charging policy.

a. Charges for Hire of Town Hall

Members recalled that it had been recommended at the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 8th September, 2003 and subsequently resolved at the Town Council meeting held on 15th September, 2003 that:

(i) all hourly rates be increased by £1.00 per hour from 1st April, 2004;
(ii) there should be an additional cleaning charge of £25 for function lets such as weddings and birthday parties;
(iii) the hire fee in respect of weddings remains unchanged.

b. Charges for Hire of Moot Hall



Information regarding the existing hire policy of the Moot Hall had been circulated and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.

c. Tours of the Moot Hall

Members were reminded that the Town Council had a policy of charging £1.00 per adult and 50p. per child for tours of the Moot Hall (adults accompanying groups of school children are admitted free). There was no charge for pupils from Maldon Schools (minute 77.1(c) of the Finance & General Purposes Committee 27 November, 2002). Members noted that it had been agreed at the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 13th January, 2003 that there be no change in the charges for Moot Hall tours during 2003/04 but when the matter should be re-considered in conjunction with the 2004/05 estimates to the removal of all charges.

Members were informed that the following amounts had been received for Moot Hall tours/donations since 1 April, 2003 to 31 October, 2003: £524.12 and that £965.26 had been paid to Tour Guides in wages.

A member expressed the view that the admission fee for tours of the Moot Hall should be dropped.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that there be no change to the admission fees for tours of the Moot Hall.

d.Photocopying Services

Members were informed that the present charging for photocopying was:

10p a copy 1 - 25 copies
  8p a copy over 25 copies
  5p a copy over 100 copies
  3p a copy for Charities and those supplying paper.

For information members were informed that one copy now costs the Town Council 0.55p a copy and to date we had received £88.68 in income for photocopying.

RECOMMENDED: that there should be no charge in the charging policy for photocopying service.

e. Fax Facilities

Members noted that the present charges for fax facilities were:

                              First Page          Subsequent Page

U.K.                      £1.00                   0.50p
Europe                  £2.00                   0.75p
Rest of World      £2.25                  £1.25
Incoming fax from anywhere         £1.20 including the cost of telephone calls to notify arrival.

It was noted that members of the public do not use our facility as there were cheaper outlets in the High Street.

RECOMMENDED: that there should be no change in the charging policy for fax facilities.

f. Allotments

Members were reminded that it had been agreed at the Environment Committee meeting held on 16th July, 2001 that the allotment rent be increased to .10 pence per sq. metre per annum. An increase in rents had not been considered during this financial year as there was a considerable amount of money in the Allotment Account.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that discussion regarding an increase in allotment rents be deferred until the Environment Committee meeting to be held in June 2004
 68.2 Town Council's Precept Requirement for the 2004 / 2005 Financial Year

Members received and considered the report of the Town Clerk showing proposals for inclusion within the Town Council's precept requirement for the 2004 / 2005 financial year as listed below.

The recommendations of the Committee take into consideration comparisons with regard to the 2003 / 2004 estimates and were listed accordingly adjacent to each estimate head.
ADMINISTRATION
   A.1 Town Mayor's Allowance - no change.

A.2 Town Hospitality Allowance - Members agreed to increase the budget head by £300.00 as next year would be the 100th anniversary of Carnival. A member suggested that it would be preferable if a separate "One Off" payment of £300.00 were to be included in the Estimates for the Carnival centenary celebrations.

A.2(a) Town Mayor's Expenses Account - no change.

A3 Subscriptions - increase because of possible increases in affiliation fees.

A4 Attendance Conferences/Meetings/Training - increase, training for members and provision for staff to undertake the European Computer Driving Licence (minute 54 Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003 refers).

A4(a) Members Allowance - minute 67.1 refers

A5 Travelling and Subsistence - slight increase additional training courses for members and staff to attend - reference minute 67.2

A6 Staff Salaries Gross - Increase taking into consideration annual increments and cost of living rise.

A7 Local Government Superannuation - no increase.

A8 Employer's National Ins. - increase to take into consideration A6.

A9 Donations Vol. Organisations - Members noted that the figure shown in the column "budget 2003/04" included £1,200 pledged to the Plume School for their Performing Arts Status, £1,326 at the end of the financial year 2002/03 and £2000 budgeted for 2003/04.

For 2004/05 it had been suggested that £3000 be included for donations. Members recalled that it had been agreed at the Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003 that a provisional sum of £1,000 should be included for the Official Twinning visit from Cuijk (minute 46.3(iii) refers).

A10 Insurances - It was noted that there had been an overspend during 2003/04 resulting from increased premiums which were more than had originally been envisaged and the Town Council had increased the Fidelity Insurance cover to £1,000,000. Investigations were being undertaken regarding 3rd Party Hirers Insurance in respect of the Town Hall and members also considered the Personal Accident Insurance being extended to cover Councillors from the age of 75 to 80 years and taking out "Loss of Revenue Insurance". It was also envisaged that the insurance premiums would increase considerably and in this respect an increase had been shown.

A11 Petty Cash - slight increase.

A12 Audit Fee - slight increase. Members were informed that there would be an overspend this financial year as the Audit Fee for 2001/02 not been received until June, 2003 and the audit account for 2002/03 had not yet been received. Members recalled that there was now the additional cost in respect of the Internal Auditor.

A13 Solicitors' Fees - decrease - member were informed that the situation regarding 11 Market Hill did not appear to be continuing but that there may be legal costs regarding the Amenity Area Tennyson Road.

A14 Election Costs - not envisaged that there would be an election.

A15 Photocopier - slight increase - quarterly payments.

A16 Stationery - no change.

A17 Advertising - increase to cover cost of Annual Report, printing of new Town Hall brochure with revised charges and possibly more regular newsletters.

A18 Postage - slight increase as there was no longer the local delivery service.

A19 Franking Machine - slight increase.

A20 Office Equipment - decrease - it was very much hoped that new computers would be purchased before the end of the financial year and members may wish to consider the introduction of Broadband.

A21 Trade Waste Agreement - no change.

A22 Licence Fees - No change - Performing Arts Licence in respect of the Town Hall.
PREMISES
   Moot Hall

P1.1 Council Tax - no change.

P1.2 Water Rates - slight increase.

P1.3 Electricity - no change.

P1.4 Telephones - no change.

P1.5 Security Alarm Maintenance -no change.

P1.6 Fire Alarm Maintenance - no change.

P1.7 Fund: Maintenance - members were informed that it was very much hoped that some of the works detailed within the quinquennial report would be undertaken prior to the end of this financial year with all the works would be completed by 2007. It was suggested that another £5,000 be included to enable further works to be undertaken.

P1.8 Decoration - members were informed that it was very much hoped that some of the works detailed within the quinquennial report will be undertaken prior to the end of the financial year. However, it is suggested that another £2,000 be included to enable further works to be undertaken.

P1.9 Contingencies/Cleaning - decrease.

P1.10 Regalia/Heritage - no change - members were informed that this budget head was used in respect of the Mayor's chain, past Mayor's badges, robes, hats etc. In view of the fact that quotations were being sought for new links and shields for the Mayor's chain as there were no un-engraved shields and the chain was now very heavy members also were requested to consider whether a new chain detailing all Mayors since 1987 and including the original badge should be purchased.

Discussion ensued and the Mayor informed members that the Maldon Chain of Office was extremely distinctive and he felt that there would be no heritage or history attachment to a new chain. He felt that new links/shields should be purchased for the original chain.

P1.11 Regalia/Restoration Fund Earmark - Some members recalled that there had been £7,000 in this fund at the beginning of the financial year for the repair and recovering of 24 red chairs in the Moot Hall. This work had now been undertaken but there were still a number of chairs within the Moot Hall that required to be repaired and recovered and some of the paintings also required to be restored. It was therefore recommended that money remaining in this Budget Head at the end of the financial year should be carried forward and an additional figure of £2,000 be included for 2004/05. It was also suggested that consideration should be given to re-valuing the Town Council's assets.

P1.12 Moot Hall Clock - no change.

P2 Plume Building Alarms - slight decrease.

P2.1 Plume Building Structural Fund - all the works detailed in the quinquennial report had been undertaken no need for estimate provision.

P3 Structural Survey of Properties - this fund now stood at £12,000 it had been suggested that a further £2,000 be added.

P4 White Horse Lane Toilets -increase, as a number of the wall tiles needed to be removed as condensation appeared to be collecting behind the tiles on the walls with windows, making them loose. It had been suggested that in these locations the tiles should be removed and the walls painted.

P5 Fund Closed Churchyards/walls - members were informed that it had been necessary to have a fund (minute 36.2 of the Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting on13 September, 1999 - as the North Boundary wall St. Mary's churchyard needed to be inspected annually). Works may be required to the South Boundary wall St. Peter's Churchyard. Money which remained at the end of the 2003/4 financial year should be carried over and it had been suggested that £3,000 be included.
Town Hall/TC Offices
   P7.1 Expend Public Works Loan - balance from 2003/04 - this was the balance of the sum borrowed to build the Town Hall, some of which had been utilised on building the wall at Market Hill Garden. The Town Clerk advised that this was the only contingency fund available to the Town Council. Discussion ensued and it was felt that as a safe guard this figure should be increased by £10,000.

P7.2 Loan Repayment - the Town Council had paid a total of £58,039.68 in repayments this year in respect of the above loan. The amount owed by the Town Council as at 3 November, 2003 had been £505,599.44 in respect of the original loan of £565,000 (65/8%) and £149,373.65 in respect of the second loan of £200,000 (4Ύ%).

P7.3 Council Tax - decrease as rateable value had been revised (minute 38.2 of the Finance & General Purposes Committee 8 September, 2003 refers).

P7.4 Electricity - no change.

P7.5 Telephone - increase - because of increased use of email.

P7.6 Fax - slight increase because of use of email as one of the modems in the office was on the same line as the fax machine.

P7.7 Gas - decrease

P7.8 Water - increase as there would be an overspend this financial year.

P7.9 Security Maintenance - increase

P7.10 Fire Alarm Main/Fire Extinguishers - no change.

P7.11 Lift Maintenance - Next year as well as having the normal maintenance checks it would also be necessary to have a five year test (LG5) undertaken as the lift would be 5 years old - this would cost £425. Members also recalled that at the meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 20 May, 2003 it had been agreed that enquiries should be made regarding the installation of a telephone line in the lift. The British Standards in respect of maintenance for lifts had subsequently been obtained and further advice had been received which stated that "if the building was occupied after general staff have left then the phone was needed". The cost for installation of this would be £879 plus approximately £99 for the installation of a telephone line.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the funds should be included in the Estimate Head to enable the additional work to be undertaken.

P7.12 Electrical Maintenance -slight decrease

P7.13 PHS Supplies - increase - in view of the fact that the building was now 5 years old it was suggested that a Water Sure Sanitiser (urinal sanitizer) be installed in the gents toilets. This would cost £208.00 per annum.

P7.14 Heating Maintenance - decrease.

P7.15 Gas Maintenance - slight increase

P7.16 Access & Lock Maintenance - decrease

P7.17 General Maintenance Fund/Decoration - This financial year a new cooker had been purchased, new sink for the kitchen and the floor in the hall had been treated. Quotations had been obtained for safety guards to be purchased for the radiators in the public area of the Town Hall, minute 63.3 refers. It was also suggested last year that lights should be purchased to illuminate the stage and external decoration of the building needed to be undertaken. As there would not be enough money in the budget head to undertake these works it was suggested that £8,000 be included for the 2004/05 financial year. This would also enable the stage floor and main hall floor to be treated, provision of fixed water heater (risk assessment) and improvements to the main door to allow better access for disabled persons (minute 104.1 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee 1 April, 2003 refers).

P7.18 Contingency/Cleaning Mats - no change.

P7.19 Maintenance - Ventilation Equipment - no change.
GENERAL PURPOSES
   G1 Town Centre Manager -no change

G2.1 Maeldune Centre Assistance -no change

G2.2 Maeldune Centre Manager/Fund - no change.

G2.3 Maeldune Centre Shop - The shop should be installed prior to the end of the Financial Year.

G3 Youth Council - no change. It was noted that Councillor Mrs. Downes also donated £200 from the Mayor's Fund when she was Mayor.

G4 Cinema Club - decrease.

G5 Christmas Light Contract - in accordance with tender.

G6 Miscellaneous -no change

G7 Provision of a Web Site - no change.

G8 Partnership Funding for CCTV - Members were aware that the Town Council assisted financially with the provision of CCTV at the top end of the High Street. The Maldon District Council and Police would like to see CCTV continued throughout the lower end of the High Street and in view of this would like the Town Council to consider a further financial contribution.

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE - Estimate provision submitted was approved by the Environment Committee at their meeting held on 17th November, 2003.
 68.3 Estimate Requirement - Police Community Support Officers

Due to the timescale and with the agreement of the Chairman, the Town Clerk circulated a report and information to members regarding Police Community Support Officers. As a result of a meeting held at Madison Connections on 25th November, 2003 which Cllrs. Mrs. Riesebeck and Savage and the Town Clerk had attended (minute 99 of the Town Council meeting held on 27th October, 2003 refers) members were requested to consider whether they wished to include money in the 2004 / 2005 Estimates to assist with the employment of a Police Community Support Office (PCSO). A list of costing was included in the report.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the matter be investigated further.

It was agreed that the notes considered by members of the Environment Committee should be circulated with the agenda for the Special Council meeting to be held on 8th December, 2003.

RECOMMENDED: that the Estimates as attached to these minutes (Appendix B) for the financial year 2004 / 05 be considered at the Special meeting of the Town Council to be held on 8th December, 2003.
 69. MOOT HALL - REPAIRS

Further to minute 90.1 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th March, 2003 two copies of the specification for the quinquennial repairs had been received from David Whymark. Mr. Whymark would like to obtain tenders from:

a. Peter Loe Restoration of Maldon
b. Bakers of Danbury
c. F J Capon Ltd
d. Cater (Roofing Contractors) Ltd. Cater's do works other than roofing to a high standard, e.g. Beeleigh Abbey.

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Clerk and Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee look at the Specification from David Whymark to see if there should be any amendments.
 70. 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 9.10 p.m.

Signed…………………………………………….. Date



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