Agenda item

Crewe Community Governance Review - Developing a Budget and Transfer of Assets

To discuss the work now required by the Sub-Committee to determine a budget for the Council’s first year of operation.  The Cheshire Association of Local Councils has offered to assist the Sub-Committee with this work.


In addition, to discuss the work and legal/financial advice now required by the Sub-Committee to determine a proposed list of assets, and associated running costs, to be transferred to the new Town Council.


The Sub-Committee discussed the work required from the Sub-Committee in determining the budget for the parish council’s first year of operation. Part of the Reorganisation Order made by Council for the formation of a town council for Crewe would need to include a budget for the first year of operation and precept to be paid by residents of the parish. The Order would also include any assets to be transferred to the parish council from the Borough Council (Cheshire East Council).


The Sub-Committee agreed that the budget needed by the parish council would depend on the level of activity expected and the value and cost of assets to be transferred to the parish council. Consideration was given to the types of assets that may be transferred to the parish council such as public toilets and allotments which are assets which have typically been transferred to town and parish councils in other parts of the Borough. Consideration was also given to the possibility of transferring specific assets relevant to Crewe such as the Market Hall, Lyceum Theatre and Queens Park.


A Special Expenses Levy was a charge made by the Borough Council to residents in an area who benefit from a particular asset (e.g. leisure centre/park) provided by the Borough Council. The purpose of this was to ensure that local people benefiting from an asset were paying for it as opposed to all residents of a Borough covering the cost as part of Council Tax. It was suggested that if a special expenses levy was going to be applied by the Borough Council to an asset then it may be beneficial to residents for the local parish council to receive the asset from the Borough Council and charge a precept to residents to fund the asset. In this case the local residents would still be covering the cost however would have more say in the operation of the asset at a local level.


It was unclear what types of assets could be included in a reorganisation order and which would require negotiation with the parish council once formed and handed over to elected parish councillors. The Sub-Committee required officers to give legal and financial advice on plans and proposals regarding assets.


There seemed to be a consensus that £50-£60 as a precept seemed reasonable when compared to precepts in existing parish councils and considering the potential needs of the Crewe town council. The Sub-Committee agreed that once a budget and precept is proposed by Cheshire East Council it will be necessary to communicate this to residents effectively to explain the reasons for the budget and precept chosen.


RESOLVED – That officers be requested to consider what assets could be transferred to the new town council including the implications on budget requirement so that a budget and precept for 2013/14 can be identified for inclusion in the draft Reorganisation Order. Consideration would need to be given to the effect special expense levies would have on council tax bills for residents of Crewe.