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17th October 2000
Minutes of the Meeting of the Corporate Affairs Committee held on Tuesday 17 October 2000 at 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor I Murtagh Other Members:- Councillors Mrs A Bell, I Barr, D A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McHugh, J McNulty, J O’Kane, E Turner MBE Total = 13 Apology:- Councillor McMenamin In Attendance:- Clerk & Chief Executive, Acting Head of Finance, Human Resources Officer, Committee Clerk
SCHEDULE OF ACCOUNTS
The Schedule of Accounts for the month of October 2000 was presented to the meeting, a copy of which was previously circulated. The Chief Executive and Acting Head of Finance (AHF) responded to queries by Members. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Mr Paul Houston - £100.00
In response to a query by Councillor Emery, the AHF advised that the repairs related to a collision involving the minibus in the Council Yard. This was noted.
Inland Revenue - £1,177.57
The Chairman pointed out that this account related to Chairpersons’ and Vice Chairpersons’ allowances for 1999/2000. He indicated that he had paid back £523.12 to the Finance Department and the AHF confirmed that this amount had been deducted from the final sum.
1st Castlederg Boys Brigade - £50.00
Councillor Emery declared an interest in this account as he was involved in the Boys Brigade.
National Association of Councillors - £260.00
National Association of Councillors - £528.76
Councillor O’Kane queried why two Councillors were named in respect of the first account but no names were listed for the second account and he suggested that a consistent approach be adopted. In response, the AHF advised that the detail in the print-out referred to the details on the remittance advice, however, Councillors would not be named in the future if Council so wished. This was agreed. Councillor Emery remarked that direct reference to Councillors’ names should be dealt with "In Committee" in line with Council policy. This was noted.
St. Ann’s Primary School - £10.00
Councillor McNulty declared an interest as he was on the Board of Governors.
INTERNAL AUDIT SERVICES
The AHF sought permission to continue to use Helm Corporation for internal audit services for 40 days at a daily rate of £195. She explained that the Local Government Auditor was agreeable to this arrangement. This was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Turner, seconded by Councillor Bresland. In response to a query by the Chairman, the AHF advised that the emphasis on internal auditing related to improving controls and procedures.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that the meeting go "Into Committee".
Abstract of Accounts – Year Ended 31.3.00
Members noted that the abstract of accounts for year ended 31 March 2000 had been submitted to the Department of the Environment to meet the deadline of 30 September. It was also noted that these were the first full set of accounts to be prepared under capital accounting.
2000 Israel Bike Ride
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the Council contribute the sum of £50.
Trek in Aid of Mencap
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that the Council support in principle a contribution being made to the individual/s undertaking the trek, given that Council supported two participants the previous year. It was noted that the Council had contributed £50 recently to Mr Paul O’Hare. It was agreed that £50 be donated.
NI Campaign for ME/CFS Healthcare
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Turner, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the Council contribute the sum of £50. One Member abstained from this decision.
William Keown Trust – Support Funding
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council contribute a similar amount to the previous year’s contribution.
Members noted letter received from Strabane/Lifford Anglers expressing appreciation for the Council’s contribution of £200.
1st Strabane Scout Group
The Chief Executive outlined the background to the request for funding. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the sum of £100 be contributed in the event that the Council did not provide double funding and that there was a deficit in the funding received by the Scout Group.
Burndennett Cricket & Social Club
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that the request for funding be referred for consideration to the Audit & Staff Committee meeting.
The Chairman voiced concern at expenditure to date on conferences/courses and urged Members to be mindful of this.
Conference of the Isles – Portmarnock Hotel, Dublin – 23 & 24 November 2000
The Chairman queried the need for Council to be represented and whether any benefits would be gained through attendance. Councillor Turner remarked that housing and economic development issues were of paramount importance for Councillors and urged that Council be represented.
Councillor McBride proposed that the Council should not be represented given that the budget was already overspent. In seconding the proposal, Councillor McNulty also requested that relevant information be obtained from the organisers.
Councillor Barr spoke of the Northern Irish context of the conference and that a speaker from Derry was also included in the programme.
Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, an amendment that Council be represented at the conference.
Voting took place on the amendment with six Members in favour, six against and one abstention. The Chairman used his Casting Vote against the amendment and it was defeated.
Voting took place on the proposal with six Members in favour, six against and one abstention. The Chairman used his Casting Vote in favour of the proposal and it was carried.
Councillor Turner asked to be recorded as stating that, whilst acknowledging the pressure on the budget, it was a cause for concern that the Council was not represented at such an important conference. He felt it was incumbent on Council to represent the ratepayers on these issues and at a time when many housing estates were experiencing great difficulties. In response, Councillor McBride remarked that the Council’s decision did not deflect from the commitment to the electorate as was demonstrated through representation on various bodies and attendance at relevant conferences in the past.
Developing Community Strategies & Regeneration Partnerships – Hilton Hotel, Belfast - 21 to 23 November 2000
Councillor Barr proposed that in view of the previous decision regarding conferences, that if cost was the determining factor, that Council should not be represented at this or any conferences in the future. In seconding the proposal, Councillor McBride commented that the stage at which the Council was overspent that action be taken and that perhaps this difficulty may not reoccur in the future. Councillor McNulty concurred with these sentiments.
Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried with seven Members in favour, none against and six abstentions.
Overspend – Councillors’ Allowances
Councillor Hussey remarked that there was an overspend on Councillors’ allowances and this was noted.
Post Conference Report
Members noted post conference reports which were completed in respect of the Urban Regeneration conference in Belfast on 11 September 2000 and Environmental Health Congress from 12-15 September 2000 in Harrogate.
Contract for Refurbishment of Council Offices
In response to a query by Councillor Barr, the Chief Executive indicated that the Members’ Room was being used in a temporary capacity for Officers in the Administration Department. Councillor O’Kane queried whether the stud wall which was erected at the week-end as a replacement for the brick wall was in compliance with the contract. He also understood that work was carried out at the week-end unsupervised and resulted in a door having to be relocated. The Chief Executive undertook to refer the matter to the Chief Building Control Officer and this was agreed.
National Association of Councillors
Members noted up-to-date information from the National Association of Councillors which was circulated by Councillor Turner.
The Chief Executive reminded Members of the deadline for printing the Council’s Newsletter. He requested permission to enlist the services of the Corporate Policy Officer to assist with its completion by Friday, 20 October 2000 prior to publishing and distribution by post. He explained that it was anticipated that the draft document would be available for perusal by interested Councillors by Friday 20 October 2000 and that the Business Manager would update Members accordingly. This was agreed.
The meeting closed at 8.55 pm.