Joint Report of Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change and Corporate Director of Resources and Treasurer to the Joint Committee
The Joint Committee considered a joint report of the Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change and Corporate Director of Resources and Treasurer to the Joint Committee which set out proposals with regards to the 2022/23 revenue and capital budgets for the Central Durham Crematorium (for copy see file of minutes).
The Finance Manager, Neighbourhoods and Climate Change advised that the budget had been developed with the Bereavement Services Manager, taking into account the proposed Fees and Charges, the updated 2021/22 forecast outturn position and the known expenditure pressures in the coming year.
Councillor M Stead asked how much over the amount needed for investment are the current balances and reserves. The Finance Manager, Neighbourhoods and Climate Change advised that the general reserve policy recommends 30% of the income budget, however, it would be prudent to have a buffer which provides scope for unforeseen expenditure which is part of the actual reserves earmarked for future investment. The budget strategy could examine the reserves level and whether the general reserve policy percentage could be changed, however advised this could have knock-on implications.
The Neighbourhood and Protection Manager added that historically taking a prudent approach has allowed for cremator replacements and capital improvement works and advised it would be prudent to look at dividends when reserves were at a sufficient level.
Town Councillor N Foster acknowledged Councillor Steads point. He referred to the challenges during the pandemic and suggested it would be prudent to project future revenue and highlighted exploring new opportunities in technology.
The Chair commented that reserves will be essential with regards to exploring new technology as additional space would be required. She highlighted the need to keep up to date with changing times and provide a choice for families.
In response to a query from Town Councillor D Ranyard, the Neighbourhood and Protection Manager advised that due to Covid the meeting arranged to be held at Durham Crematorium had to be rescheduled and it was anticipated that the next Central Durham Crematorium Joint Committee meeting in April 2022 would be held at Durham Crematorium. There would be an opportunity for members to look round the facilities after the meeting. He added if any members wished to visits the Crematorium before the meeting in April, the Bereavement Services Manager would be able to facilitate individual visits.
(i) That the revenue and capital budget proposals contained within the report (as set out at Appendix 2) be approved;
(ii) That the forecast level of reserves at 31 March 2023 (as set out at Appendix 2) be noted.