Melksham Without Parish Council
Melksham Without Parish Council
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Accounts Audit and Budget 2023/24

Accounts, Audit, Budget & Compliance to Transparency Code


Budget 2023/24

Melksham Without Parish Council agreed their Budget for 2023/24 at the Full Council meeting held on Monday 23rd January 2023. The Council unanimously agreed to set its Precept the proportion of Council Tax paid to the Parish Council - at £245,271.03 for the 2023/24 financial year, which is an increase of £9,581.98 (4.1%) on last years Precept. However, due to the additional number of houses that have been built and occupied in the parish, there are more residents contributing to the Precept. This means that the average Band D household will contribute £84.71to Melksham Without Parish Council,a zero rise on last year. (Band D properties are used as a measure of the national average).

The parish council have strived to maintain services without increasing the burden on residents, against the backdrop of the current cost of living crisis.

The parish council run a number of facilities and services in the parish from this Precept funding and support a number of community ventures in both the parish as well as those in the Town and villages outside the Parish. It currently runs and maintains five play areas (Berryfield, Shaw, Beanacre and Kestrel Court & Hornchurch Road in Bowerhill) with two more being taken on from the developers in the new housing developments in the Bellway development on Semington Road and the Taylor Wimpey development in Pathfinder Place, Bowerhill. In addition, it also owns two playing fields, one in Bowerhill and one in Shaw (The Beeches). The parish council has taken on some additional grasscutting, on public open space owned by Wiltshire Council, to improve the cutting in some areas and for wildflower meadow areas in patches on the public open spaces. The parish council has two allotment sites, both in Berryfield, which have a full occupancy of 70+ tenants at present.

The parish council contributes to a variety of joint ventures with Melksham Town Council such as the Melksham Neighbourhood Plan, development of Shurnhold Fields mini country park and the public toilets in the Market Place. As well as joint ventures, the parish council provides grant funding (29,150 in the current financial year with a higher amount budgeted for next year). These grants provide valuable funding for all the village halls in the parish; Shaw, Bowerhill, Whitley Reading Rooms and the new hall in Berryfield as well as wide spread of clubs, support groups, and organisations that provide sporting activities, village publications, events, and activities for young and old. The grants are for those organisations that benefit the residents of Melksham Without, so are not all contained in the parish, some are based in the Town or in other villages outside the parish. In addition, the parish council has pledged up to 11,500 to jointly commission a service with Melksham Town Council to provide additional proactive support to the most vulnerable residents in the parish. Age UK Wiltshire provide a range of support, advice, guidance and practical help to residents and the new funded service is to provide additional, tailored, dedicated support in the parish and town.

The Parish Council has received additional funding from the Governments CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) scheme which is a levy directly on new housing developments in the parish. When budget setting the Council have not put money into Reserves for future projects that could be paid for from CIL and will look to use the CIL funding for a variety of infrastructure projects including the repayment of the Public Works Loan for the building and kitting out of the new village hall in Berryfield in association with the approved planning application of 150 houses in Land to the east of Semington Road. All the CIL received to date from the 450 houses East of Spa Road (The Acorns/Hunters Wood) has been transferred to the Town Council in this financial year; this is 315,000 which the parish council have earmarked for several years for the construction of a new community centre, east of Melksham, the transfer has a legal tie to ensure that is what the funds are still contributing to. This is following the Community Governance Review which saw the transfer of this housing development from the parish to within the town boundary.


The community funding received from Sandridge Solar Farm has been used this year, and for next, to fund cleaning of the play areas safety surfacing, tree works, pavement weed spraying, new street furniture, roundabout planting maintenance and the fortnightly installation of the Speed Indicator Device across the parish.

Other budgeted items are for highway improvement and speed enforcement projects working with Wiltshire Councils LHFIG (Local Highways & Footpath Improvement Group), play area repairs and a trial of Real Time Information in bus shelters.


A copy of the Minutes of the Parish Councils Finance Committee meeting (9th January) when the Budget was discussed in detail is available to view on the Parish Council website. FINANCE MINUTES 9th January 2023.pdf and the Precept was agreed at the Full Council meeting on 23rd January 2023. Minutes here

Budget for 2023/24

 

Public Works Loan

As part of the new Bowood View development in Berryfield there was the provision in the S106 agreement for a new village hall, with either the developers building this themselves whilst on site or transferring a specified amount to the parish council. Unfortunately, the developers did not wish to construct this themselves and therefore opted to transfer the £500,000 index linked, as stated in the S106, for the parish council to build this themselves. The parish council went out to tender for this project in March 21, with this being overseen by the project manager for the project Arthur Williams. Following this process, the parish council felt that for ease of cash flow and the fact that they wished for the construction to go ahead while construction was underway in the development, they should apply for a public works loan. In May 2021, the parish council consulted residents of the parish on their intention of applying for a public works loan for this project.

Following the public consultation, in June 2021 the parish council resolved at their Full Council meeting to apply for a public works loan totalling £495,000 over a 5-year period at a fixed rate term. In September 2021 the parish council received notification from the Public Works Loan Board that their application for £495,000 over a five-year period using EIP (Equal Instalments of Principal) repayments had been accepted. At the Full Council meeting on Monday 13th December 2021 (Min. 212/21d) the parish council resolved for the loan application to be signed by the Chairman and Clerk. As detailed above, the parish council took out a public works loan to aid cash flow while waiting for income from the section 106 agreement for the hall and CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) that had been agreed to be used for the construction of the hall. In January 2024, some CIL was received from the new Buckley Garden Development on Semington Road, which, therefore, meant that the council had enough funds available in the Berryfield Village Hall reserve to pay back the public works loan in full. The council had contacted the Public Works Loan Board to ascertain whether there was any benefit or penalty to the council if they paid the loan back early. They had confirmed that it depended on interest rates at the time the council wished to pay back the loan in full, but advised that if the council wished to pay off the loan at the time of the enquiry, there would be a discount of c£11,000. At the Full Council meeting held on the 22nd January 2024, the council approved repaying the outstanding public works loan amount three years early (min. 388/23c). It was confirmed that the total final amount due to be paid back on the loan was £286,482.80, which was paid on the 25th January 2024 giving a total discount of £11,781.90 on the loan amount.

The council have made the following loan repayments in 2023/24:
£  49,500.00 Capital Loan repayment (25th September 2023)
£    2,165.63 Interest Payment (25th September 2023)
£285,388.18 Capital Loan repayment (25th January 2024)
£    1,265.00 Interest Payment (25th January 2024)

Total Capital Loan repayment 2023/24 £334,88.18
Total Interest Payments 2023/24          £  3,430.63

As at 31st March 2024, the outstanding capital works loan amount is £0.00. As the full loan amount has been paid off the Public Works Loan Board do not issue a balance statement at year end. 

To view the letter of loan confirmation please see below:

Public Works Loan confirmation letter

 

Spend over £500

Under the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 part 2.1 (28 & 29) localauthorities on a quarterly basis must publish details of each individual item of
expenditure that exceeds 500 (The threshold should be, where possible, the netamount excluding recoverable Value Added Tax).

This includes items of expenditure, consistent with Local Government Associationguidance, such as:
individual invoices
grant payments
expense payments
payments for goods and services
grants
grant in aid
rent
credit notes over 500, and
transactions with other public bodies.
.
Salary payments to staff normally employed by the local authorityshould not be included. However, local authorities should publish details of paymentsto individual contractors (e.g., individuals from consultancy firms, employmentagencies, direct personal contracts, personal service companies etc) either here or
under contract information.

For each individual item of expenditure, the following information must be published:
date the expenditure was incurred
local authority department which incurred the expenditure
beneficiary
summary of the purpose of the expenditure
amount
Value Added Tax that cannot be recovered, and
merchant category (e.g., computers, software etc)

To see the spend over 500 for the 2023/24 financial year, please follow the links below for each quarter:

Spend over £500 for QTR1- April, May, June 2023

Spend over £500 for QTR2- July, August, September 2023

Spend over £500 for QTR3- October, November, December 2023

Spend over £500 for QTR4- January, February, March 2024