16 Wiltshire Council's Business and Financial Plan Update and Budget 2012/13
To consider the Leader’s motion on the Business and Financial Plan Update and the Budget and council tax levels for 2012/13 following the recommendations of Cabinet from its meeting on 15 February 2012.
The following reports are attached:
Cllr Dalton declared a personal and prejudicial interest in this item regarding the setting of garage rents as referred to in the proposals concerning the Housing Revenue Account as he held a garage tenancy.
The Chairman explained how he intended to manage the debate on the budget as summarised in the previously circulated paper regarding the budget process.
The Chairman drew Councillors’ attention to the various budget papers which had been previously circulated as follows:
· Budget report
· Report from the joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee held on 9 February 2012
· Extract from the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 February 2012
· Proposed Council Tax resolution
· Report on Treasury Management Strategy 2012/13
· Report on revision to Treasury Management Strategy 2011/12
· Revised Financial Plan
· Liberal Democrat Group’s response to the Business and Financial Plan
· Budget Debate Process
The Chairman invited Cllr Jane Scott, Leader of the Council, to present her budget speech which was circulated at the meeting and is attached as Appendix 3.
The Leader explained that the priorities for Wiltshire Council were to deliver what was best for the people of Wiltshire, to look after the growing aging population and vulnerable children, to manage the challenging economic situation and to keep council tax at a zero percent increase for the third year running.
The Council was currently undergoing transformation and looking at new ways of providing key services including waste and recycling collections, leisure, libraries and older people’s accommodation. The number of offices was being reduced and the Council was moving towards a new community campus model. There were plans to invest almost £350 million into key services over the next three years while continuing to change and to keep looking at the way services were delivered and working closely with communities.
The Leader also thanked the new leadership team, extended leadership team and all the Council’s staff for their hard work, commitment and outstanding delivery this year, particularly in such challenging and demanding times.
The Leader moved the recommendations from the Cabinet meeting held on 15 February 2012 regarding the Financial Plan, Treasury Management Strategy 2012/13 and amendment to the Treasury Management Strategy 2011/12. She also explained that £290k from existing base budgets would be used to pump prime 2012 celebratory events this year. Where possible the expenditure would be offset by income generated from businesses participating and/or sponsoring the events. The money would come from holding vacancies in corporate services that have not already been deleted as part of the saving proposals. This was seconded by Cllr John Thomson the Deputy Leader.
At the Chairman’s invitation, Cllr Nigel Carter presented the report of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee meeting held on 9 February 2012. The Select Committee was pleased to see a balanced budget this year. The Committee felt that the Financial Plan could be improved by putting more emphasis on good news stories, ensuring the narrative highlights and explains big changes to service budgets and making sure that the ... view the full minutes text for item 16