Here I am again, summarising the latest New Frankley in Birmingham (NFiB) Parish Council meeting. For the record, this was the meeting held on the 20th August 2012.
The meeting followed the usual format, apologises, declaration of interest and then a discussion on each of the items on the agenda. In addition to the regular agenda items, like the chairpersons announcements, questions to the chair and planning applications, this month’s agenda also included a report on the localisation of council tax benefit, a report on the council’s standing orders (these are the rules and regulations that councillors are supposed to adhere to whilst in office) and the proposals for the provision of a new parish council website. There were a few additional items to these, which can all be found in the draft minutes.
Talking about draft minutes, I notice there was a change to July’s, with the inclusion of a paragraph related to ‘cash in hand’ payments. Given the announcements made on behalf of the Chairperson this month, it seems this may have major ramifications for The Frankley Newsletter, more on this in a bit.
Out of the twelve councillors summoned to this month’s meeting, seven attended. There may have been more absent this month, but at least the council received a number of apologises this time.
With apologises considered and accepted, the meeting proceeded in the usual fasion. When it came to the Chairperson’s announcements these were submitted by the RFO (Responsible Financial Officer) as the chairperson was one of those absent. There were only two announcements this month, one related to former councillor Andrew Thompson and the other related to the Neighbourhood News. It was announced that even though Councillor Thompson had indicated he wished to resign from the council, as official procedure had not been followed he had been disqualified from serving on the Parish council. The other announcement, related to the Neighbourhood News, was to inform councillors that due to complications in arranging delivery, unless adequate arrangements could be made, the Newsletter will cease to be printed. I can’t help but wonder, is this related to the ‘cash in hand’ payments mentioned earlier??
When it came to questions to the Chair, there was only one Councillor who asked any questions this month and that was Councillor Gibbs. On this occasion he asked questions about how the vacancy for a new councillor would be advertised, how the tendering process for the caretaker service was going, what criteria is being used in relation to the hedge cutting service organised by the parish council, had the council heard anything about the public consultation for the alcohol free zone and a question related to the holding of parish council meetings at local LEA schools. If you like to know what response these questions received, then check out the draft minutes by clicking here.
It was interesting that the report on the impact of council tax benefits, which may have severe consequences for the parish council’s funding in future, was only to be noted and not discussed. Given the budget is usually set in November it doesn’t give the council much time to consider what options it can take in response to any possible changes. As a democratic organisation, decisions have to be made by the full council, this means there’s only really two occasions to consider the options available, September’s and October’s meetings.
The other report received by the council this month, outlined a number of amendments made to the council’s standing orders, which were all accepted.
After considering the planning applications, schedule of payments and a few other updates on the agenda, the meeting reached the point where items for information only are raised. There was quite an eye opener this month and that was the cost of the “Christmas” tree by Hollyhill shops. I wonder how many others will be flabbergasted to learn this tree cost £3500… I was. The reason this came up was the condition of the tree, which seems to be dying. An update on what’s going to happen to it is due next month. At £3500 let’s hope it can be revived. That’s a lot of money to waste on a tree.
Every month, the public have the chance to raise issues of local concern. This month, a local resident raised an issue related to Frankley Library’s opening hours. This individual was concerned that people were not being consulted about a proposed reduction in the opening times of the library and wanted to bring this to the notice of the parish council. If you would like to know more about what’s being proposed for the library, then I recommend you contact Frankley Library direct.
After hearing these concerns members of the public were excluded, as the council then went on to discuss the awarding of a contract to build a new parish council website. From the draft minutes you can see this contract was awarded to Blue Fusion Studios at the cost of £2595. After making this decision the meeting ended.
As ever, if you would like to fill in the gaps, the draft minutes can be found by clicking here, the Parish Council can be contact by telephoning 0121 457 9410 and you can email me at TheFrankleyMan@gmail.com.
Hopefully, a summary of September’s meeting, which is scheduled for the 17th, will be available a little sooner than this one. You could of course come along to the next meeting, at St Christopher’s Church Centre, New St, Frankley at 19.30, and hear everything for yourself in full.