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Agenda and draft minutes

General Assembly of the Council (Budget)
Monday 27 February 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR

Contact: Email: memberservices@dartford.gov.uk 

Items
Note No. Item

74.

Prayers: Reverend Clark

Minutes:

75.

Localism Act 2011 - Dispensations - Members' Allowances and Financial Contributions to Parish/Town Councils pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To note legal advice received that Members in receipt of Members’ Allowances could be construed as having a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest on that account, and to note the action taken to grant dispensations to all Members of the Council to enable them to participate in decision making relating to Members’ Allowances and to financial contributions to Parish/Town Councils.

Minutes:

Members considered a report which explained that current legal advice now stated that the receipt of Members’ Allowances is likely to qualify as a disclosable pecuniary interest. In view of this the Managing Director had, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, granted a dispensation to all Members who had applied for one to enable them to participate in any discussion and decisions relating to Members Allowances. All Members of the Council had applied for a dispensation and this had been granted to run from 27 February 2017 until the fourth day after the ordinary day of the Council elections in May 2019 when Members’ current term of office would end.

 

Members also noted the action taken by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, to grant a dispensation to all Parish/Town Councillors to enable them to speak and vote on items in respect of section 136 contributions.  

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.            That Members note the legal advice received, that membership of a local authority is likely to be viewed as an ‘office carried on for gain’ and that Members’ Allowances is relevant for disclosable pecuniary interest purposes when Members are asked to vote on the rate of allowances themselves.

 

2.         That Members note the action taken by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, to grant dispensations to all Members, (who have registered their receipt of Members’ Allowances as a DPI and applied for dispensation) with effect 27 February 2017, for a period ending with their retirement on the fourth day after the ordinary day of election in May 2019, to speak and vote on agenda items in respect of Members’ Allowances, on the ground that so many members of the decision-making body have disclosable pecuniary interests in a matter, that it would impede the transaction of the business.

 

3.         That Members note the action taken by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, to grant dispensations to all Parish/Town Councillors (who have applied for dispensation), with effect 27 February 2017, for a period ending with their retirement on the fourth day after the ordinary day of election in May 2019, to speak and vote on agenda items in respect of Section 136 Contributions, on the ground that so many members of the decision-making body have prejudicial interests in a matter, that it would impede the transaction of the business.

 

4.         That, for the reasons outlined in the body of the report, the Members’ Allowances interest category be deleted from the Prejudicial Interest definition.  

76.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

The Managing Director declared a personal interest on behalf of all Officers present at the meeting in staffing matters referred to in Agenda item 7, Revenue and Capital Budgets 2017/2018.

 

The Managing Director in the exercise of his delegated authority, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, granted a dispensation to all Councillors to speak and vote on Agenda item 7, Revenue and Capital Budgets, in respect of their receipt of Members’ Allowances paid by the Council on the ground that without the dispensation, the number of persons prohibited from participating in the discussion and voting on Members’ Allowances would be so great a proportion of the body transacting the business as to impede the transaction of business (see agenda item 7).

 

Councillor I D Armitt declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Appendices K(i),(ii) and (iii) of Agenda item 7 as he is an employee of Wilmington Parish Council.

 

Councillor J Burrell declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as he is a trustee of the Dartford Citizens Advice Bureau which receives grants/funding from the Council.

 

Councillor P Kelly declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as he is a trustee and Chairman of the Unit Management Committee of the Dartford & Crayford Sea Cadets who receive grants/funding from the Council.

 

Councillor J A Kite MBE declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as he is a director of Dartford Football Club which receives grant funding from the Council.

 

Councillor R Lees declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as he is a trustee of Dartford Citizens Advice Bureau which receives grants/funding from the Council and also as a trustee of Greenhithe Community Association which is a tenant of the Council and receives grants/funding from the Council.

 

Councillor D J Mote declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Appendices K(i),(ii) and (iii) of Agenda item 7 as his wife is an employee of Stone Parish Council.

 

Councillor D J Reynolds declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in Agenda item 7 as his partner is an employee of Dartford Borough Council.

 

Councillor A S Sandhu MBE declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as he is a trustee of the Kent People’s Trust and as Vice-President of Dartford Valley Rugby Football Club as they receive grants/funding from the Council.

 

 

77.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

78.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive announcements by the Mayor.

Minutes:

79.

Urgent Items

The Mayor will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items.

Minutes:

MD

80.

Revenue and Capital Budgets 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 184 KB

To set the overall level of General Fund and Housing Revenue Account revenue and capital expenditure for Dartford Borough Council for 2017/18, to agree the level of Council Tax for Dartford Borough in its parished and unparished areas, to approve the Pay Policy Statement for 2017/18 and to determine sundry related matters.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor J A Kite, asked permission to make a couple of announcements before turning to consider the Capital and Revenue Budgets for 2017/18. He informed Members that he had just returned from a very moving private visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration camp which had many lessons for modern society. The Leader was also pleased to announce that the Council had been awarded the Kent Design & Development Award for the refurbishment of Fairfield Pool against strong competition. This was a considerable achievement and the new operator was generating significant income for the Council whereas previously Fairfield had been a cost to the Council. He congratulated the Officers involved in the project and also Councillor Lloyd, the Portfolio Holder for Council Finances & Major Capital Projects who had been deeply involved in the project.   

 

The General Assembly of the Council considered a report which set out the Council’s capital and revenue budgets for 2017/18. The report, which included the revenue and capital estimates, identified the level of precepts for Kent County Council, the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue and the Town and Parish Councils within the Borough.

 

Members were asked to set the level of expenditure for Dartford Borough Council Capital and Revenue Budgets for 2017/18, to approve the level of rents chargeable for Housing Revenue Account dwellings for 2017/18, to agree the level of Council Tax for Dartford Borough in its parished and unparished areas, and to determine sundry related matters. Members were also asked to approve the Council’s Pay Policy Statement.

 

The Leader of the Council introduced the budget report by expressing regret that he was proposing the first increase in Dartford’s council tax in seven years but was proud of the Council’s record of being able to continue to deliver services without any increase during that period. However this was simply not sustainable given the national changes to government funding and the proposal was to increase Dartford’s council tax by 3%, equating to a £4.95 increase for an average Band D property. The Council took its responsibilities to Council tax payers very seriously as it was aware that it was their money and the Leader contrasted the years of low and zero rate increases in the last 14 years with the much higher levels of increase which had preceded it. He explained the need to ensure that there was no regression in terms of core service provision and highlighted areas of continuing success such as the refurbishment of Fairfield Pool, the many events held across the Borough, the first new build council housing in over 40 years and the successful Town Centre vision bid which had secured £4.3 million for Dartford. There were also many challenges ahead such as traffic flow, the decision on the location of a new Thames River crossing for which the Council had been lobbying the Government and on other works to ameliorate problems associated with the Dartford crossing. Air quality remained a major issue for local people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.