Agenda item

Fees and Charges Setting 2021/22

To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the attached report.

Decision:

RESOLVED –

 

  1. That the fees and charges set out in the report and the attached appendices be agreed.

 

  1. That delegated authority be given to the s151 Officer to make any necessary amendments.

 

  1. That the timings for the price increases to be implemented as indicated in the report be agreed.

 

  1. That amendments to the eligibility criteria for Bulky Waste and Pest Control concessions be agreed.

 

  1. That the option to pay for Council Services by cheque is withdrawn, except in extremis be agreed.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

Securing revenue in line with the Medium Term Financial Strategy remains vital to balancing the budget annually in order to support all of the services provided by the Council.

 

 

Minutes:

Jane Fineman, Head of Finance, Procurement and Parking introduced the report that proposed the fees and charges for 2021/22

 

Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following:

 

-       The report covered all income streams from products and services except property rents and licencing income and delivered a budget income of £6m.

-       The report also excluded parking fees which were assumed to remain unchanged next year.  This was with the exception of a proposed amendment to the discount to the pay by phone purchases and the setting of the charges for the new Union House car park (expected to open summer 2021).

-       The report also provided a complete review of forecast sales volumes and usages for 2021/22 which when multiplied by the prices proposed created the services income budgets for the next year.

-       The medium term financial strategy usually assumed an increase of 3% year on year but due to the Covid-19 Pandemic it would assume an overall income deficit of £3m for 2021/22.

-       This report showed a shortfall from last year of £253k as sales volumes had fallen and the Council was not anticipating them to fully recover throughout the next financial year.

-       The report also reviewed concessions that the Council would usually charge for via the fees and charges. 

-       It was proposed to allow the provision of free bulky waste collections and free pest control services with the eligibility bands for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

-       The introduction of Universal Credit had meant that some residents who were not necessarily the most in need were now eligible for the free services and this needed to be addressed.

-       The number of residents who had signed up to the Green Waste collection service had exceeded last years budget.  Despite Covid-19 the actual number of subscribers was now 22,000 up from 21,152 ( a rise of 9%).  The budget for 2021/22 had therefore been increased to reflect this.

-       It was also proposed to reduce the discount given to customers who paid car parking charges by phone from 20p to 10p.  When pay by phone was introduced a discount of 40p was given to recognise there was a 20p admin charge levied by the contractor to use the service and because the Council wanted to incentivise customers to use this method of payment.  This was no longer the case so the discount was being phased out.

-       Except in exceptional circumstances it was proposed the Council should no longer accept cheques.  There were many other forms of electronic payments available  which were cheaper for the Council and more cost effective to administer.  The option to pay by cash would still be available.

-       Details regarding eligibility for concessions for Bulky Waste and Pest Control collection would be done via the internet and on social media.  Most residents who requested this service did so by phone so Customer Services would be able to provide eligibility details.  Residents would still be able to have a collection every 3 months which by far would cover the requirements of the customers who use this service.

 

RESOLVED –

 

  1. That the fees and charges set out in the report and the attached appendices be agreed.

 

  1. That delegated authority be given to the s151 Officer to make any necessary amendments.

 

  1. That the timings for the price increases to be implemented as indicated in the report be agreed.

 

  1. That amendments to the eligibility criteria for Bulky Waste and Pest Control concessions be agreed.

 

  1. That the option to pay for Council Services by cheque is withdrawn, except in extremis be agreed.

 

REASON FOR DECISION:

Securing revenue in line with the Medium Term Financial Strategy remains vital to balancing the budget annually in order to support all of the services provided by the Council.

 

 

Supporting documents: