TWO items dominate the February Full Council meeting [PDF] of Colchester Borough Council when the hyperlocal politicos do the posturing thing on the 20th at the Town Hall: a £250k UNDERSPEND and Tiptree Jam.
Talk about being in a pickle, etc.
Yep, the agenda has been published, which must mean that it’s time for The Chronic to once again condense 115 pages [GOSH] into a 500 word spunked out blog post.
Dirty job, someone’s got to do it blah, blah, blah.
The 2013/14 General Fund Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Medium Term Financial Forecast [SEXY] asks members:
“To note that the outturn for the current financial year is forecast to be an underspend in the region of £250k.”
Can we bugger off back to base now?
Not before the meat on the monetary bone has been served. In particular, the following figures have been asked to be released from the central pot of dosh:
“£200k from the Capital Expenditure Reserve in 2013/14 to meet costs including the community stadium. £30k from the S106 monitoring reserve and £102k from the Pensions Reserve.”
Looks like the Sunny Colch roof is being repaired on a relatively sunny day, Comrades.
It’s a weighty financial report that has been prepared by the Head of Resource Management. It’s already eating up The Chronic word count, but it’s also worth noting that it includes:
“To agree and recommend to Council that Colchester’s element of the Council Tax for 2013/14 be set at £178.65 for Band D properties which is a 1.95% increase.”
This has been bashed out both within Cabinet, and more crucially, behind the scenes with a little politcal fall out within the LibDems internally. Full Council will of course rubberstamp this. The political repercussions will follow in May when the LibDem Leadership is up for grabs once again…
Extreme caution is called for [fiscal, *not* political]
“The financial outlook set out within the Medium Term Financial Forecast (MTFF) shows that further reductions in core Government funding and cost pressures faced by the Council mean that the position will remain challenging.”
£727k is cited as the level of cuts that CBC is facing for 2013/14. The £250k underspend shows that savings can be made. But this is just the start, Comrades…
A brief interlude for Treasury Management Strategy Statement [sorry - we got lost after the first sentence in the report] and then Full Council will consider the Tiptree Jam Factory Plan Development Plan Document.
This is all about the official CBC endorsement of the grand plans from Tiptree Jam to build a new factory ahead of an expected planning application.
Here’s the background:
“In 2011 Wilkin and Sons asked the Council to review land allocations in Tiptree, in particular land incorporating and adjacent their existing factory. They were seeking additional housing outside the Tiptree settlement boundary being justified as enabling development to fund construction of new factory accommodation within the village.
The special circumstances of the case include that Wilkin and Sons is a major employer in Tiptree, with about 80% of staff living in the Tiptree area. The labour force has grown by 35% in the last five years and is expected to increase to 500 by 2030.
Parts of the existing factory are over 100 years old and it has become increasingly challenging to make jam efficiently and to maintain the buildings to meet ever-more demanding food standards.”
It’s all about balancing Localism with a laissez faire approach to the hyperlocal economy. It’s an incredibly delicate balancing act, Comrades.
“The Inspector concludes that the Tiptree Jam Factory Plan provides an appropriate basis for the planning of this part of the borough to secure in the medium term a new jam factory.”
I think we know which way Full Council will swing, so to speak.
The full report from the independent inspector is included as part of the 115 page CBC agenda. Any inclusion here would tip us over our self-imposed word count.
Plus we can’t be arsed to waffle though it, to be honest.
We’ll leave that to Full Council on the 20th, Comrades.