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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 23 March, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services

Visible Services - Proposed Fees and Charges for 2015 / 2016

Purpose of the Report

1. To propose increases in service charges for functions managed by Visible Services for the financial year 2015 / 2016.

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 2015 / 2016 detailing the outcome to Visible Services of the reshaping services income generation workstream.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To demonstrate the Cabinet's approval of the charge increases proposed for 2015 / 2016.

 

2. To permit Cabinet to take a decision on charging strategies for functions provided by Visible Services in light of future budgetary challenges.  

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 2015 / 2016 is circa £2m. In addition to this there is a budget saving of £340k from previous years to increase the roll out of car park charging. This will be the subject of a future Cabinet report. 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 2015 / 2016 is £6.54m with approximately £910k of this income coming from the fees and charges detailed within this report.

 

4. At its meeting of the 9th February 2015 Cabinet agreed a range of additional charges for waste management and cleansing services for the 2015 / 2016 period which should realise additional income of circa £200k per annum.  During such difficult financial times, there is always a temptation to propose high fee increases across the board.  However this would not necessarily guarantee a commensurate income increase across all areas, as patronage of certain services could reduce.  As advised in previous fees and charges reports, this is of particular concern with outdoor sports and services used by more vulnerable sectors of our community.

 

5. As part of the reshaping services programme, 'income generation' has been identified as a core work stream.  Each service area's income (from grants and customer receipts) has been subject to initial analysis and further work during 2015 / 2016 will identify  where opportunities exist for income to be increased without a commensurate 'drop off' in service use.  It is proposed that this detail will be the subject of a future report to Cabinet where a number of the fees detailed in this report could be subject to further change, in addition to certain new fees being identified.

 

6. In order to ensure that current costs reflect inflation and other demands such as wage awards, it is proposed to uplift the majority of service fees by 2%.  Certain charges will remain the same and the charges proposed for Porthkerry Cemetery reflect current arrangements at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery, Barry.  A small number of charges are proposed to increase to better reflect the costs of service provision. 

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 Porthkerry Cemetery

Waste Management and Cleansing (Appendix 1)

8. In previous years it has been necessary to increase commercial waste charges by 20% per annum to cover both landfill tax and inflation costs.  As our residual waste is now subject to incineration and energy production via the Viridor Plant in Cardiff, there is no significant landfill tax element.  For this reason it is proposed that commercial waste charges are only subject to a 2% inflationary increase for 2015 / 2016.  This will help to consolidate, and even increase, our commercial waste income.  As in previous years, to encourage greater commercial recycling it is proposed that these costs only be increased by 2%.

 

9. As part of the continuing initiative to increase kerbside recycling, it is proposed not to increase the cost of reusable green or blue bags (currently priced at £1.00).  The charges for bio-degradable sacks will also be set at the same value as the last 8 years at 3 sacks for £1.00.

 

10. 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.

Highways and Engineering (Appendix 2)

11. It is proposed to retain the current coastal car park costs for all day parking of £5.00 for cars and £10.00 for coaches.  The current up to 2 hour parking fee of £2.00 has resulted in some income loss when compared to the previous arrangement (2013 / 2014) of £1.00 for up to 1 hour.  It is therefore proposed that short term charges, i.e. up to 1 hour be reinstated at a cost of £1.00. 

 

12. It is proposed to increase the charging for filming on the adopted highway to a level similar to other highway land.  This will be a minimum figure.

 

13. It is proposed that all other charges in this area be increased by 2%.

Parks and Grounds Maintenance (Appendix 3)

14. It is proposed that the majority of charges in Parks and Grounds Maintenance be increased by 2%.

 

15. For the 2013 / 2014 and 2014 / 2015 football seasons, the taking of fees for football and football pitch use for games within the Vale of Glamorgan League has 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 there was also an increased risk of teams playing without having paid the requisite fee.

 

16. The League are paid a fixed sum of £4,500 split into three instalments throughout the season, and for every senior game played they must reimburse the Vale of Glamorgan to a value of £44.00.  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.

 

17. This will be the 3rd season of this Agreement which has worked extremely well.  The Council receives regular pitch income, the Vale of Glamorgan League ensures that all those that play pay for their games and the League has managed to reduce fees payable by the Clubs to £39.00 per match.  This compares to a charge of £45.20 levied in 2012 / 2013.  To aid the continued success of this scheme no charge increases are proposed for the 2015 / 2016 period for games organised through the Vale of Glamorgan Football League.

Porthkerry Cemetery (Appendix 4)

18. 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)

19. The fee increases represent inflationary and wage award pressures for the period.  As previously advised, all income from fees including grant income, is being reviewed by the reshaping services programme.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

20. 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)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

22. 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)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

24. 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

25. This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26. 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

Visible Services - Accountant

Operational Manager - Legal

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing

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