To receive a verbal update on the Special Expenses Monitoring report.
The Assistant Director – Resources provided the Committee with an update on the budget monitoring and outturn position for the Committee of King’s Lynn Special expenses for the year 2020/2021.
The Assistant Director drew the Committee’s attention to Section 1.4 of the report which set out Special Expenses charge 2020/2021.
It was explained that the 2020/2021 estimates had been reviewed and updated to reflect the latest outturn position in terms of cost and activity and were detailed in the table at Section 2 of the report.
Section 2.2 of the report outlined the reasons for the variances and were explained in detail by the Assistant Director.
With regard to the overspend for 2020/2021 for Special Expenses the Assistant Director explained that this would be met by the Council. Work would now be undertaken to understand the implication on the current year monitoring position and would be incorporated into the estimated budget for 2022/2023. The outcome of the review and estimated budget would be presented at the next KLACC meeting for discussion and consideration.
The Chair thanked the Assistant Director for the report and invited questions / comments from the Committee, a summary of which is outlined below:
In relation to increased costs at Fairstead Community Centre, the Assistant Director advised that this related to an increase in maintenance costs due to the age of the building as more repairs have been required to the building.
The Assistant Director advised that in relation to the bus shelters and advertising income the College of West Anglia had been the key contributor to that, however, she understood that work had been carried out with them to carry out some advertising in the current financial year, so there was expected to be some income generated from that. She assumed that there was no income generated in the last financial year because of Covid and that the College was shut for significant parts of the year.
With regards to timings and repairs to bus shelters, the Assistant Director advised that she would follow-up the quey and respond back to Councillor Mrs Wilkinson.
Councillor Bambridge asked why the bus shelters were not used to promote the Council’s summer events and asked that it was forwarded on to the organiser as some of the events had been poorly attended.
Councillor Bambridge also stated that there were a couple of SAM signs, in her Ward and she added that there was a need to replace the batteries and there needed to be a maintenance cost factored in.
The Assistant Director advised that there could be some money available from a community safety budget. With regards to future schemes and future maintenance, this was something that needed to be thought about and was now a requirement of the application.
The Chair added that he supported the idea of advertising the Council’s summer events in bus shelters.
At the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Middleton addressed the Committee and added that one of the challenges for the Committee had been to identify savings to Special Expenses. He referred to the public conveniences which had not been in operation for a long term and that the Council staff had been using South Lynn Community Centre and asked whether they were areas where savings could be made.
In response the Assistant Director advised that in relation to public conveniences she would follow that up but did point out that when the public conveniences were open, they did require more cleaning to be carried out in line with Covid measures.
With regards to South Lynn Community Centre, the Assistant Director explained that the costs had not been passed on through Special Expenses which resulted in a significant saving and £20,000 of that saving had been set aside and would be put towards new play equipment in that area.
AGREED: That the report be noted, and attention be drawn to the Council using the bus shelters to promote the Summer events.