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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 10 March, 2014

 

Joint Report of the Cabinet Members for the Environment and Visible Services and Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development

 

Visible Services - Proposed Fees and Charges for 2014 / 2015

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To propose increases in service charges for functions managed by Visible Services for the financial year 2014 / 2015.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet agree the charging and fee proposals for Visible Services as set out in this report.

2.         That a further report is provided to Cabinet in 2014 / 2015 detailing the outcome of an income review within Visible Services.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To demonstrate the Cabinet's approval of the charge increases proposed for 2014 / 2015.

2.         To permit Cabinet to take a decision on future charging strategies for functions provided by Visible Services.  

Background

2.         The Council delivers a number of chargeable services through the Directorate of Visible Services and Housing.  These charges are set on an annual basis.

3.         The total savings required in Visible Services for 2014 / 2015 is circa £2.1m.  The department has a wide range of income sources that feed into its operational budgets and these include Welsh Government grants, income from external works, civil parking enforcement fines, lease income and a number of fees that are levied to the public and the commercial sector.  The projected total income for the department for 2013 / 2014 is £6.49m with approximately £750k of this income coming from the fees and charges detailed within this report.

4.         During such difficult financial times, there is always a temptation to propose high increases across the board.  However this would not guarantee a commensurate income increase in all areas, as patronage of certain services could reduce.  This is of particular concern with outdoor sports and services used by more vulnerable sectors of our community.

5.         In light of this, a review is currently underway within Visible Services which will help to determine the yield point of all chargeable services to ensure that future income is maximised and that greater knowledge is obtained on the potential for any detrimental affects on service users of above inflation fee increases.

6.         Accordingly a further report on this matter will be presented to Cabinet during 2014 / 2015.  For now it is proposed to uplift the majority of service fees by 3% with higher increases proposed for commercial residual waste collection and seasonal car park charging.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         The proposed charges for services are set out in the appendices as follows:

Appendix 1      Waste Management and Cleansing

Appendix 2      Highways and Engineering

Appendix 3      Parks and Grounds Maintenance

Appendix 4      Parks and Grounds Maintenance - VoG Football League

Appendix 5      Parks and Grounds Maintenance and Porthkerry Cemetery

Waste Management and Cleansing (Appendix 1)

8.         Due to ongoing increases in landfill costs it is proposed to increase commercial waste charges for residual waste by 20%. Whilst these above inflation level costs may detrimentally affect a number of commercial businesses, the private sector do have a choice as to whether to use the Council’s refuse collection and recycling service or an alternative service provider.  In addition we have a requirement to pass on the full costs of this service to the commercial sector and not to part subsidise any commercial waste activities via either the Council’s direct budgets or the Welsh Assembly Government’s specific waste grants.  To encourage greater commercial recycling these costs will only be increased by 3%

9.         In order to maximise service efficiencies and meet the financial targets proposed for Visible Services, it will also be necessary to rationalise commercial waste and recycling collections across the Vale.  To achieve this, the commercial service offered to private businesses across the Vale will need to reflect other Waste Management and Cleansing household collection services, i.e. weekly collections for recycling and fortnightly for refuse.  This will minimise any inefficient vehicle movements and maximise collection schedules to ensure optimum route efficiency.

10.      It is proposed that all commercial customers, including our Council offices, are only offered services in line with our domestic collections as of 1st April 2014.  However, where it is operationally sustainable in high density areas (town centres only) the Waste Management and Cleansing Department will consider an enhanced frequency of service for increasing recycling collections.  Though this will only be where it is operationally and economically viable to do so.  Any enhanced service will only be for the provision of food and or dry recycling to encourage sustainable waste management and reduce waste to landfill.  It is also proposed that, in accordance with the 'Controlled Waste Regulations (England & Wales) 2012', from the 1st April 2014 all education premises requesting a recycling service will also be charged at the rates shown in Appendix 1.  60 Schools currently benefit from free recycling services which in most cases were introduced some time ago to encourage recycling.  It is no longer economically viable for Visible Services to fund this service on behalf of the Schools concerned who have devolved budgets they can use for this service.  The estimated additional income from charges to public buildings and education premises from recycling collections will be in the region of £40k per annum, assuming similar activity to that of 2013 / 2014.

11.      As part of the continuing initiative to increase kerbside recycling, it is proposed not to increase the cost of reusable green bags (currently priced at £1.00).  The charges for biodegradable sacks will also be set at the same value as the last 7 years at 3 sacks for £1.00.

12.      Due to our continued Waste Awareness Campaign and our wish to limit the future use of plastic carrier bags it is proposed to keep the cost of our jute re-usable shopping bags at 50p each.

13.      It is proposed to increase all other waste management and cleansing charges by 3%. 

Highways and Engineering (Appendix 2)

14.      It is proposed to increase the costs at coastal car parks to £2.00 for up to 1 hour and £5.00 for all day for cars and from £5.00 to £10.00 for coaches (all day).  The current fees of £1.00 for up to 1 hour and £4.00 all day and £5.00 for coaches have been in place since 2010 / 2011, and based on last year's parking activity levels this fee change will increase car park income in the region of £60k.  This will assist in meeting the budget savings / income increases for 2014 / 2015.

15.      It is proposed that all other charges in this area be increased by 3%.

Parks and Grounds Maintenance (Appendix 3)

16.      It is proposed that the majority of charges in Parks and Grounds Maintenance be increased by 3%.

17.      For the 2013 / 2014 football season, the taking of fees for football and football pitch use for games within the Vale of Glamorgan League have been managed by the League themselves.  This has increased the income from fees taken for football to £25k, where previously most, if not all of the income was lost in the administrative arrangements.  Previously these were also increased risks of teams playing without having paid the requisite fees.

18.      The League are paid a fixed sum of £4,500 in three instalments throughout the season and for every senior game played they must reimburse the Vale of Glamorgan to a value of £43.00.  They have the flexibility to charge the senior clubs any fee per game subject to a maximum of £39.00.  Any loss between what the League pay the Council and what they recover from the clubs should be covered via the £4,500 annual fee.  A copy of the Agreement and current charging schedule is attached at Appendix 4.

19.      This has worked extremely well in its first season and will now continue.  The Council has received regular pitch income which is an improvement on previous years when the income was taken by Leisure Centre Staff.  Also, the fees for senior football in the Vale of Glamorgan League have reduced from the £45.20 levied in 2012 / 2013 to £39.00 in the current season.  This helps to promote football in the Vale of Glamorgan.

20.      In view of the success of this scheme no charge increases are proposed for the 2014 / 2015 period for games organised through the Vale of Glamorgan Football League.

Parks and Grounds Maintenance and Porthkerry Cemetery (Appendix 4)

21.      As in previous years, the charges proposed are those put forward by Barry Town Council who manage this Cemetery on our behalf.              

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

22.      The consumer price index for December 2013 was 2% and the retail price index was 2.7%.  The suggested increase of 3% is therefore representative of the inflation rate for this period and allows for an element of possible rate fluctuations upwards during the financial period.

23.      The charges proposed will allow Visible Services to continue to provide all the services specified for the 2014 / 2015 period.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

24.      It is necessary to review fees on an annual basis to ensure the continuation of services in light of increasing costs.  There are no climate change implications arising from the fee increases proposed.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

25.      Under relevant legislation, the Council is allowed to charge for certain services it provides.

Crime and Disorder Implications

26.      The provision of quality facilities and opportunities is recognised as making a contribution towards reducing crime, particularly for young people.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

27.      It is hoped that the charges proposed will not preclude any sectors of the community from accessing the services provided.

Corporate/Service Objectives

28.      The level of charges set for Visible Services helps to ensure our continued operation within budget.  This assists in ensuring that we achieve our overall service objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

29.      This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

30.      There is no requirement to consult on these proposals.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing

Telephone: 02920 673 101

 

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager - Highways and Engineering

Operational Manager - Waste Management and Cleansing

Operational Manager - Parks and Grounds Maintenance

Visible Services Accountant

Operational Manager - Leisure and Tourism

Operational Manager - Countryside and Economic Projects

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing

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