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Medway Council Cabinet decisions 25 November

Date: 26/11/2008           Category: Members Services / Chief Executive Office

Medway Council’s Cabinet met on Tuesday, 25 November and discussed a range of issues including the revenue budget, Corporation Street development and the Medway Innovation Centre. Revenue budget 2009/2010 This report presents the council’s draft revenue budget proposals. These must be developed three months before finalising the budget and setting council tax levels in March 2009. Cabinet must present a budget to council at a special council meeting on 26 February 2009. The report forecasts a budget gap of £14.2million. Cabinet approved the recommendation that the draft budget is forwarded to Overview and Scrutiny as work in progress inviting them to offer comments on the proposals. Capital Programme 2009/2010 This report seeks to ensure the capital programme is included in the process for setting the revenue budget and the level of council tax and all expenditure is matched to available resources. The capital programme is largely funded from government and other grants. Cabinet agreed the recommendations to forward the draft capital programme to Overview and Scrutiny and invite them to make comments. Revenue budget monitoring 2008/2009 It is the Cabinet’s responsibility to ensure that income and expenditure remains within the budget approved by council. Where a budget overspend is forecast, Cabinet supported by the corporate management team must identify measures to remove the excess expenditure. A deficit forecast of £1.2million remains. Cabinet agreed to endorse management action to further contain overall expenditure. Capital budget monitoring 2008/2009 The council has a capital programme for 2008/2009 of more than 100 schemes and this report provides an update on expenditure to the end of September. Cabinet agreed the recommendation that Full Council adds the Great Lines City Park to the capital programme at the meeting on 15 January. Corporation Street development framework The framework is designed to ensure the Corporation Street area development reaches its full potential as a key site between historic Rochester and the new community at Rochester Riverside. Cabinet agreed the recommendation to adopt the revised framework as a supplementary planning document. Review of youth facilities in Medway The Children and Adults Overview and Scrutiny Committee have carried out an in-depth review into youth facilities in Medway. The findings of the review will inform direct and commissioned services from the council and its partners to support young people’s ambitions and aspirations. Cabinet agreed the recommendation that the review will be used in the next children’s and young peoples plan 2009. Medway Innovation Centre Phase two of the centre is due to be completed in January 2009. The ground and first floors are to be operated as an innovation centre with spaces available for small businesses. The top floor is currently being marketed to one firm. Cabinet agreed to delegate authority to the AD (Housing and Corporate Services) and the Portfolio Holder for Finance to secure a tenant for part of the centre, providing rental income. Disposal of freehold for 95 High Street, Rochester The proposal is to dispose of the freehold of 95 High Street and lease back the areas the council needs, namely the ground floor, front basement and coach dropping off point. The value of the property is over £1million; the disposal will have to be agreed by Full Council. Services that run from 95 High Street will not be affected by this change. The Cabinet agreed to recommend to Full Council that 95 High Street is declared surplus and that it be disposed of but that the ground floor, front basement and coach dropping off point be leased back. Recruitment freeze Cabinet agreed to unfreeze six posts and allow the recruitment process to begin. Medway Park The Cabinet agreed to award the tender for the extension and new build contract for the park; this will allow work to start and keep to the programme for the development. Contract award: high volume digital printers This phase of the print review deals with high volume digital printers required for the relocation of the reprographics unit from the Civic Centre, Strood to Gun Wharf, Chatham. Cabinet agreed to award the provision of high volume digital printers for five years to the contractor in the exempt report.