Draft Minutes of the Finance and Audit Committee held on Monday 18th January 2024. This was a Hybrid Meeting held at the Welfare Hall, Heol y Felin, Cwmgwrach and via Zoom at 6.00 pm
Present: Cllr P Rudd (Chair) Cllr J Bulman and Cllr M Mortimore
Council Employees Present: Clerk/RFO L Evans,
Chair PR started the meeting. The meeting is held as a multi-hybrid meeting in accordance with The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 & the Council Standing Order 3 (b)
It was proposed and seconded to discuss Agenda Item 5 a) after Agenda Item 2 Declarations of Interest to give the Old Age Committee time to make observations to the Committee Members.
Members of the Public Present: M Williams, P Williams, J Laker, and B Jenkins (Members of the Old Age Group)
114/23 Apologies for Absence: There were no apologies – all F and A Council Members were present.
115/23 Declarations of Interest: There were no declarations of interest made at this meeting.
116/23 To Receive the Public Observations on Agenda Items at this Meeting: Agenda Item a) B Jenkins gave an overview of the Old Age Group – it had started in Cwmgwrach in the 1940’s and meeting at the Welfare Hall for the past 24 years. The group have a written agreement from 24 years ago (£50.00 donation given by the Group to the Council) – “hall to be made available for the disposal of the Old Age as and when they need it”. The group have 26 members all paying £1.50 a week, several arriving by taxi. The group provide refreshments, friendship and company, entertainment, a library, trips, and days out among other things. They save for a Christmas Bonus and Dinner for members and fund raise for several charities.
117/23 Agenda Items:
- a) Usage of Hall with Cwmgwrach/Blaengwrach Old Age Committee – B Jenkins requested why the members of the Old Age Group had been invited to the meeting. (Clerk had previously visited the group with an invitation for this meeting, giving details of the current hourly cost of hiring the hall and an explanation on the need for the Hall to produce an income due to running costs) Cllr J Bulman explained, the reason the members had been invited was to discuss the group contributing toward the Hall during the time they are using it. Users of the hall pay the hourly rate, whereas the Old Group use the hall for no cost. The cost of running the hall has greatly increased over the last 12 months. P Williams asked if the group were being asked to contribute to help “balance the books” and were the Council struggling to “balance the books”. Cllr P Rudd explained that this year has been a difficult year with many unexpected expenses (e.g. Cutting of Trees in the park and Cemetery, and repairing play equipment in the park) Cllr P Rudd explained the need for all users of the Hall to contribute, and if the Hall does not increase income there is a possibility that the Council would need to close the Hall for a period.
Councillors explained that the Precept Levy received goes towards the running of services, Welfare Hall, Cemetery and Park. All users of the Hall should be treated the same and fairly. The wording of the agreement was questioned, as there is no mention of the Hall being used “Free of Charge”, Clerk requested a copy of the agreement.
It was suggested by the Group that funding/grants could be obtained to help with the Hall’s running cost. Clerk advised that as a group this is something they are able to investigate and apply for, and would look at local funds to see if any help is available for the Councils running costs.
RESOLVED The Old Age Committee to discuss with their members the Council’s request that the group pay for the usage of the Hall. B Jenkins to send the Clerk a copy of the written agreement. Clerk to investigate possible funding for the running costs of the Hall. Clerk to arrange a further 1-hour meeting with the Council and Members of the Old Age Group.
Due to the overrunning of Item 5 a) it was proposed that the Finance and Audit Committee meet next week to discuss agenda b) To Receive the Quarterly Budget. Item c) To Review Precept Levy 2024/25 be carried over to the Ordinary Meeting 18/01/24 6.30 pm.
118/23 Set Date, Time, Venue and Proposed Agenda Items for the Next Meeting – Thursday 25th January 2024 at 4.00 pm at the Welfare Hall and via Zoom. Proposed agenda items – To Receive the Quarterly Budget.
Meeting closed at 6.34 pm