To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report
Jane Fineman, Head of Finance and Procurement introduced this report to agree the fees and charges and agree the timings for the implementation of price increases and included the following:
- The Report set Fees and Charges for 2020/21 and delivery of a budgetary income of £6.5m.
- The Report covered all income streams for products and services, except property rents and licencing income. It also excluded parking fees as these were assumed to remain unchanged next year (except the pay by phone discount).
- It also provided a complete review of forecast sales volume and usages for 2021 – which created the servicing income budgets for the following year.
- The Medium Term Financial Strategy assumed a 3% increase which was achieved, with a surplus of £234,550 which would help fund Government Grant Reductions and Inflation.
- The number of residents who had signed up to the new garden waste collection service had exceeded expectations. The budget was now set at 20,152 subscribers – the actual number who had signed up at the time of this Report. This was significantly above the anticipated 12,046 last year. This income would be used to mitigate against the expected reduction in the New Homes Bonus.
- Government had indicated they intended to take the income from Land Charge Services, but to date this had not been done and notice would be required if the intention was proceed. Until such time another year of income had been included in the Fees and Charges Budget (approximately £72,000).
- A proposal to reduce the discount to customers who paid by phone at car parks, from 40p to 20p. This was as a result of the administration charge being removed by the new contractor. As such there remained a 20p discount to customers who used this method of payment.
Discussion and responses to members questions included the following matters:
- The level of the Camden Centre occupancy would be forwarded following the meeting.
- The 20p did appear to be an incentive to pay electronically. The take up of the pay by phone had been good, currently at 39% (from 33% in 2018).
- If the lower incentive amount made no difference to the take up rate, there might be a case to remove the discount altogether. Too early to make that decision now, but it might be something to consider at a later date.
- It was hoped that by the end of next year it would be possible to make credit card payments at all car parks. If the evidence suggested that this was the preferred method of payment, it might be appropriate to remove the 20p incentive for phone payments.
- The aim ultimately was to provide sufficient alternative methods of payments thereby discouraging and reducing cash payments.
- To make it clearer for the customer, Cremation charges that had previously been priced individually, were now packaged together. This meant the percentage increase from last year looked high. This was not the case. If the same price packaging had been applied to last years fees, the increase would show as significantly lower.
- It was confirmed that the cost of £52 remained for the new Garden Waste bin, but as the take up was now over 20,000 (compared with the 12,000 that was previously anticipated) that accounted for the increase in the total income – it was not the price increase, it was the overall budget increase.
- A cardboard urn was part of the crematorium package and was therefore included in the total package price.
RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet set out in the report be supported.