Minutes 23rd September 2015

Minutes of a meeting of Almeley Parish Council held on Wednesday, 23rd September 2015 at 7.30pm in Almeley Village Hall.

Councillor Skelton was present. Lynda Wilcox, Herefordshire Association of Local Councils was in attendance.

Councillors Present: Mr John Hope (Chair), Martin Skyrme, Allan Payne, James Edwards, Barry Hall, Liz Tucker and Bee Held.

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: None were received.

2. MINUTES of a meeting held on 12 August 2015 were reviewed. Mr Hall wished to provide an amendment and agreed to submit this to the Clerk.

3. MATTERS ARISING OUT OF THE MINUTES.
a. Lengths man Scheme. A contract with Balfour Beatty for employment of a lengths man for the parish had been signed by the Chairman and submitted to Balfour Beatty on 6 September 2015.
Tenders had been invited for the work and three had been submitted to the Parish Council for consideration. Since then, one has been withdrawn. It was proposed and agreed that Mr Hope and Mr Hall should interview applicants.
Councillor Skelton informed the Parish Council that available funds in support of a lengths man would dwindle and eventually cease.

LEADER PROJECT UPDATE. Correspondence with Dawn Turner, LEADER Project Manager indicated that a proposal to restore a pond on Meer Common would be viewed favourably along with other suggestions submitted by residents to Mrs Tucker. It was decided that posters and voting boxes would be put up around the village so the community could provide suggestions. These would be submitted to LEADER for approval. The money is retained in the bank account of the Parish Council.

4. ELECTION OF PARISH COUNCILLOR. Mrs Bee Held had been elected and was welcomed to
the meeting. She signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office as Councillor.

5. ELECTION OF VICE CHAIRMAN. It was proposed by Liz Tucker, seconded by Bee Held and
agreed unanimously that Mr Hall should be elected Vice Chairman.

6. CORRESPONDENCE.

a. Resignation of Parish Clerk. The Clerk offered to work until 31 October 2015. It was proposed and agreed that the vacancy should be advertised. Prospective candidates to submit applications to Lynda Wilcox at HALC who agreed to provide a person specification and job specimen. The PC agreed they should all be involved with the interview process. Mr Hope expressed thanks to the Clerk for her work as Parish Clerk and contribution to the village.
b. Lynda Wilcox agreed to conduct a training session for Councillors on 30 September
2015 at 6pm, followed by an extraordinary meeting of the Parish Council. The cost
will be £200.00

7. QUEEEN’S 90th Birthday and of her reign as the longest serving Monarch in British history.
It was agreed that this should be marked in some way in the Parish. A street part was proposed.
It was agreed that a public meeting should be held and ideas invited to mark the occasion.

8. FINANCIAL MATTERS.

a. It was proposed by Mr Skyrme, seconded by Mr Hall and agreed unanimously that the
following accounts should be paid:
i. Refurbishment of Church Clock – £250.00
ii. Purchase of material for restoration of seat in Woonton – £46.54.
b. PRECEPT 2016/7 Lynda Wilcox agreed to provide a formula to support discussion on
consideration of the Precept. She recommended that the Parish Council should build
up sufficient reserve to accommodate any possible increase in costs.
It was proposed and agreed that Liz Tucker, Barry Hall and Bee Held should form a working group to consider Precept requirements.
c. REPORT OF EXTERNAL AUDITOR
The Audit had been completed. The Auditor reported that ‘on the basis of their review
of the annual return, in their opinion the information in the annual return is in
accordance with proper practices, and no matters have come to their attention giving
cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been
met. ‘
Two recommendations were made, which should be introduced in subsequent audits.
i. Fixed assets. Future returns should state the insured cost only, and not
itemisation of assets.
ii. The District Council Tax Support Grant should be itemised separately from the
Precept. The Precept was £7,250 and the District Council Tax Support Grant
£562.00.
iii. It was also recommended that a report from the internal auditor should be reviewed by the Parish Council.
iv. PAYE It was recommended that a PAYE system should be introduced without delay as the current system was not lawful. Due to late registration Lynda Wilcox warned the HMRC could impose a considerable fine which would need to be considered in the next precept. It was agreed that HALC should make the initial contact with HMRC and assist in the process of registration.
The Bank mandate for signatories is required. The Clerk will contact the Parish Council’s bank for details. Ms Wilcox recommended that four signatures should be authorised.

9. PLANNING MATTERS. It was agreed that this should be deferred until the next meeting of the Parish Council on 30 September 2015. Ms Wilcox considered that comments made by the previous Parish Council were submitted unlawfully and that the planners should be informed of this.

10. Ms Wilcox recommended that the current system of distributing papers for meetings three weeks before a meeting should be changed to the requirement for three days.
She also recommended that an open session for participation by residents of 10-15 minutes should be at the start of meetings.
A request was made by a resident that a mirror should be placed at the junction of Hells Lane in Woonton. An increase in traffic made this turning very dangerous. Councillor Skelton agreed to investigate the possibility of purchase and installation of a mirror at the site.

The meeting closed at 9.20pm.