The Report was presented by Jean Stevenson Treasurer
The Treasurer drew the Boards attention to the following within the Report:
Section A - The Revised Annual Budget 2017/18 and the Annual Budget 2018/19. It was confirmed that a number of items which have been purchased have not been coded correctly and this is being reworked. Members were also advised that there is an ongoing issue with the energy supplier and the first 6 months of bills are incorrect, the in year figures in the report account for these issues.
Section B current year budget increased slightly due to additional cost of insurance and allowances made for valuation office costs of valuing the land as detailed above. In respect of estimates of income and expenditure for the year ending 31 March 2019, an increase in number of cremations is expected and strong ancillary sales. The Treasurer has built in Capital programme expenditure. It was pointed out that the revised surplus for the year is lower than expected and is forecast at £300k at present.
Section C Report on Charges. The Treasurer highlighted the proposed increase to the cremation fee to £570 which is an increase of 2.7%. It was confirmed that this will still be lowest price in the area. Other proposed changes included a £200 proposed charge for a memorial service - without a cremation this will be a new service not previously offered, and also the introduction of a late cancellation fee to cover costs. Members asked if there would be capacity in the chapel to offer memorial services. Offices indicated that this was not thought to pose an issue.
Members queried the increase of 4.8% for services before 10am. The Treasurer advised that when the decision was taken to reduce the fee for cremations before 10am, it was set at half the fee in place at that time. Members were advised that this fee was not increased last year so the increase proposed was to bring this into line. In debate the Chair sought to identify if members were minded to agree and if a consensus agreement on the best way forward was evident. Discussion took place on a number of options: on if the increase should be agreed at 4.8% or at a level in line with other increases at 2.7% increases or if the charge for this item should remain unchanged. Members pointed out that a 2.7% increase equated to £7.20. Members were originally debating on the proposed increase to 4.8% or leaving the fee as is, and then moved on to debate if an increase of 2.7% would be more acceptable. In discussion it was also pointed out that the early morning slots are not just used by people who are looking to reduce costs but are also chosen by families where there is a limited number of family members attending. Discussion highlighted the need to cover increased costs. In moving to vote, the Chair motioned for members to vote on if they were minded to agree to increase the charges for cremations before 10am by £7.20 which was equal to 2.7% in line with other increases.
1. The Revised Annual Budget for 2017/18 be approved
2. The Annual Budget for 2018/2019 be approved.
3. The estimates of Income and Expenditure and the payments for the year ending 31 March 2019 be approved.
4. It be agreed that the standard Cremation fee be increased to £570 and that the supplementary cremation charges and memorial fees be increased as set out in Appendix II be agreed with the exception of the proposed increase to the cost of cremations before 10am
5. The fee for cremations before 10am will be increased by 2.7% to £274.20
6. It be agreed that £200,000 of surplus balances from 2017/18 be distributed to each authority on the basis of the Council tax bases for 2017/18 as detailed in section 9 of the report.
7. The Audited Annual Return for the year ended 31 March 2017 be approved and accepted.