Minutes of a meeting of the Finance Advisory Committee held in the Council Chamber, Windmill Lane, Northam on Wednesday 15 th July 2009

PRESENT: Chairman - Cllr B M Edwards

Members - Cllrs C K Langton, R H Osborne

Other Member in attendance Cllr P Hames

Apologies were recorded on behalf of Cllr Mrs S Collins.

1. Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting held 20 th May 2009 were approved and signed.

(Vote: Unanimous)

With regard to minute 9 Review of Staff salaries Cllr Langton reported on the current situation and advised that he thought this should be done on an annual basis. It was RESOLVED to recommend to full Council that a review be carried out in April/May 2010 by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

(Vote: Unanimous)

2. Barrow for Street Sweeper

Members considered the two options put forward by the District Council for a new barrow for the street sweeper in Northam. It was agreed that this was really a matter for the Town Projects Committee but in the view of the Finance Committee the smaller barrow at a cost of £379.89 was the appropriate choice.

3. Purchase of land at Burrough Farm and Seagate

The Town Clerk and Cllr Edwards reported on a meeting with the Council's Solicitor who was dealing with the conveyance of the land from the District Council to the Town Council. With regard to Burrough Farm it would be necessary to undertake a search to firmly establish the status of the roads on the Burrough Farm site and it was RESOLVED to raise a cheque in the sum of £450 to cover these costs. The Solicitor advised that he anticipated completion at the end of the month. With regard to the Seagate there were a number of queries in respect of the lease with the owner of the Seagate Hotel but these would not preclude the purchase of the land although it would be necessary for the Solicitor to be engaged to complete work on a new lease between the Town Council and the owner of the Seagate Hotel. Again completion was anticipated to be at the end of the month. It was RESOLVED to submit the Town Council's application to the Public Works Loan Board in order that funds were available in time for the completion date.

(Vote: Unanimous)

4. Lease of land at Blackies

The Town Clerk and Cllr Edwards advised that at the meeting with the Solicitor this lease was discussed. There were no problems in proceeding and the rent would be £1 per annum with the lease being for a period of 5 years. Again it is anticipated that this will be completed by the end of the month.

5. Notice Board Appledore

Cllr Edwards reported that he had been approached about fitting the Appledore Notice Board on the library wall and that he had contacted a local carpenter for a quote. The quote was not yet to hand and it was agreed to refer this matter to the Town Projects Committee.

6. Audit of Council's accounts

The Town Clerk reported that as the Council's annual income or annual expenditure was greater than £200,000 then it would be necessary to carry out additional controls. It would be necessary to appoint an internal auditor who would report to the Council and for the Council to consider that report and decide on a course of action as appropriate. The internal auditor could be a Councillor or private individual employed for the purpose. The Town Clerk advised that he had spoken to Bideford Town Council who already work under this regime and he thought that the use of the person that they engage would be sensible because of the knowledge of local government accountancy. It was RESOLVED to contact this person and to ascertain if they would available to carry out the work.

(Vote: Unanimous)

7. Purchase of ties/badges

The Town Clerk presented a number of options for the purchase of badges and ties. It was agreed that the current badge, as presented to the Past Mayor, was of sufficient quality and it was RESOLVED to purchase 30 no Northam Town Council badges at a total cost of approximately £190.

(Vote: Unanimous)

8. Any other financial matters to hand

(a) Members considered the request from Cllr Robinson for a £250 grant towards the Bideford Blues and Appledore J F C. It was RESOLVED to refuse the grant in view of the Council's policy of considering grants once per year before budgets are set.

(Vote: Unanimous)

(b) Anchor Park Cllr Hames was concerned that no detailed costings had been provided by Mr Butler for the proposed works at Anchor Park. It was agreed that Cllr Hames would approach Mr Butler with a view to reporting back as soon as possible.

(c) Northam Hall It was requested that the Northam Hall Committee provided end of year accounts as soon as practicable and that consideration be given to having an open day.

(d) Cllr Edwards reported that the works on the Blue Lights Hall, for which the Council had agreed to provide an interest free loan, had been carried out by Mr Back, a local carpenter, free of charge. The cost of materials had been found by the Blue Lights Hall Committee. It was therefore not necessary at this time for the Committee to take up the offer of a loan.

e) Anchor Park The Town Clerk advised that Anchor Park should really be managed in a similar way to the Blue Lights Hall. It was agreed that this should be