The report identified as the Council faced unprecedented financial challenges it would be reviewing and revising all of its financial plans. One element of this was income from Fees and Charges. The report presented addressed that by:
1. Designing and proposing the adoption of a new Fees and Charges policy.
2. Undertaking stage 1 of a three-part review of Fees and Charges.
3. Arising from that recommending several increases in
charges, effective from 1 October, to potentially generate £114k increase
in income in a full year.
4. Noting that subsequent stages will take this work further.
The following points were highlighted:
· Review car parking charges every 2/3 years, making this more efficient. (see action point 12)
· Some residents want to pay for a car parking space but being advised by the service that consultations cannot be funded. Members were advised that where the income more than offset the cost of the survey this should be possible. (see action point 13)
· It was agreed this should be an option for residents to decide upon to either add or remove parking permits.
· It was confirmed that it would be £15 for the 1st 2nd and 3rd parking permit pending cabinet approval.
· Revenue charged for parking permits had been made on assumptions based on the current levels of activity being maintained. Therefore no negative impact from a price increase and no further enhancements, the reality of that would be seen in six months’ time and used to inform future reviews.
· Questioned whether an impact assessment had been undertaken on charges in regard to Thameside, the chair requested an urgent note be prepared with an update on the position of the theatre and what actions need to be taken to allow the theatre to operate. (see action point 14)
· Questioned why Thameside were unable to make bookings further than three months ahead, this included the booking of the pantomime. (see action point 15)
· Member noted the increased costs to Thameside would deprive non-profit groups and schools from being able to afford to use the Thameside.
· Raised concerns on why Thameside was locked during the day and why the list was still not working.
· It had been noted that Grangewaters had received the second highest increase this year, although not costing anything to the council. It was requested that members be more informed of what the full cost of running those services would be to residents.
· Members were referred to Appendix 1 of the report, Fees and Charges Policy, that highlighted the framework for setting the fees and charges across Thurrock and were informed that this process could take two to three years to complete.
· Discussed took place around the CPI and noted when comparisons between the actual price increases that had been put forward for each area, were as an average for each area less than the CPI except one exception which was environment enforcement which was a specific charge for abandoned vehicles.
· It was noted that increases in enforcement would drive the right behaviour.
· Member stated this was the wrong time for service charge increases.
· Members noted there would be an impact on services and individuals but fundamentally had to make Thurrock financial sustainable to ensure those services could continue for residents in the future.
Mair to clarify with colleagues in regard to review car parking
charges every 2/3 to possibly making this more cost effective.
Mair to clarify with colleagues in regard to the funding available
for car parking space consultations.
Mair to clarify with colleagues on the Thameside concerns
Mair to provide a note to members on the current position of
1. That Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, noted for Cabinet, the proposed Fees and Charges policy, Appendix 1, in particular agreeing the commitment to full cost recovery and annual CPI inflation increases as the default.
2. That Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee notedthe proposed Fees and Charges increases for the material areas, Appendix 2.
3. That Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the proposed new Charges in section 8 of this report.
4. That Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the requirement for a further detailed review & analysis of remaining Fees and Charges by Quarter 4 2023/24.