Review of Fees & Charges 2021/22
In introducing the report, the Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance advised that it had already been considered by both Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee. The Leader said that the aim was to freeze charges at the current rate as much as possible or increase fees and charges by indexation. He drew attention to Appendix I which gave points of explanation from questions raised at the Scrutiny Committee, and Appendix II which set out the proposals for 2021/22. The Leader said that Appendix III set out the fees and charges set nationally by the Government and Appendix IV set out the fees and charges budget for the current year. He highlighted that on page 4, paragraph 2.1 should refer to Appendix IV not Appendix III and at paragraph 3.1, Appendix II not Appendix III. He proposed the recommendation which was seconded by the Deputy Cabinet Member for Finance.
The Leader of the Conservative Group asked the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee to respond. The Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee referred to the in-depth discussion on the report at Scrutiny Committee and reminded Members of the change proposed by the Committee on Gambling Licensing, as highlighted on page 45 of the report. He gave his support for the fees and charge 2021/22.
Councillor Nicholas Hampshire spoke on the index increase in burial fees as on pages 22/23 of the report, highlighting the financial difficulties experienced by residents in the current Covid-19 pandemic. He proposed the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor Mike Whiting:
That this Council freezes burial costs at the previous year’s level for 2021/22.
On being put to the vote, the amendment was agreed.
In response to a Member’s question on the Pest Control contract, the Leader agreed to update the Member outside of the meeting.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 19(5), a recorded vote was taken, and voting was as follows:
For: Baldock, Beart, Bonney, Bowen, Carnell, R Clark, S Clark, Darby, Davey, Dendor, Ellen, Fowle, Gibson, Gould, Hall, A Hampshire, N Hampshire, Harrison, Horton, Hunt, Ingleton, Jackson, Jayes, Knights, MacDonald, Marchington, Benjamin A Martin, Ben J Martin, McCall, Neal, Nissanga, Palmer, Perkin, Pugh, Rowles, Saunders, Simmons, Paul Stephen, Sarah Stephen, Tatton, Thomas, Truelove, Valentine, Whelan, Whiting, Winckless and Woodford. Total equals 47.
(1) That the proposed fees and charges 2021/22 be agreed as set out in the report subject to the following:
(a) that this Council freezes burial costs at the previous year’s level for 2021/22.
(2) That, regarding Pest Control, delegated authority be given to the Head of Commissioning, Environment and Leisure Services in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer and the Cabinet Member for Environment to amend the fees and charges, and/or the wording to the Pest Control charges based on the outcomes from industry research and expressions of interest over the coming months, and to implement the revised charges to reflect any new pest control contract start dates (which may be before or after 1 April 2021). If a suitable contract is not deemed viable, these fees and charges will be removed.